A diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease can be difficult, but getting accurate information and support can help you know what to expect and what to do next. Use this checklist to help you get started.
1. Learn about Alzheimer's disease
Being informed will help you know what to expect as the disease progresses. Here are some resources:
- Alzheimer's and related Dementias Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center: 1-800-438-4380
- Alzheimer's Association: 1-800-272-3900
- Alzheimer's Foundation of America: 1-866-232-8484
- Local hospitals: May have educational programs about Alzheimer's disease/dementia
2. Get regular medical care
Make regular appointments with your primary care doctor or specialist (neurologist, neuropsychiatrist, geriatric psychiatrist). Consider going to a specialized memory disorders clinic. Ask your doctor for a referral if desired.
- Find local services and support by contacting Eldercare Locator: 1-800-677-1116
- Find your local Alzheimer's organization, such as an Alzheimer's Association chapter: 1-800-272-3900
- Find local member organizations and providers affiliated with the Alzheimer's Foundation of America: 1-866-232-8484
- Contact relevant local healthcare and social service agencies
(BPT) - From diet and exercise to making time for self-care and relaxation, you might be taking steps to make your health a priority. But when it comes to overall wellness, don’t forget about your brain!
Simple lifestyle choices can have a profound impact on brain health. This Brain Awareness Week consider these expert tips to help brain better — at any age.
Exercise: Physical activity is as important for the brain as it is for the body. It changes the brain in ways that protect memory and thinking skills, while also improving mood and reducing stress. So, what are you waiting for? Whether it’s walking, dancing, yoga or even mopping the kitchen floor, find an activity that works for you. It’s most important that you get your heart rate up and break a slight sweat.
Get your ZZZs: While you sleep, your brain is hard at work restoring information and memories and preparing you for another day. Sleep deprivation has been found to disrupt the brain cells' ability to communicate with each other, leading to mental lapses and perception and memory problems. To ensure you get a good night’s sleep, stick with a routine and be sure to limit exercise, caffeine, alcohol and screen time close to bedtime.
Eat right: Emerging evidence suggests an association between dietary habits and cognitive performance. Research shows that a Mediterranean-style
Caregiving is a job that takes its toll even on the most patient, most energetic and the wisest, whether or not it’s not a full-time job. It is draining, physically, mentally and emotionally. If you’re a caregiver for an older person, remember to take care of yourself, or you won’t be able to take care of someone else. These tips for self-care are not a comprehensive list. But if you need a quick reference or a refresher on taking care of yourself, refer to this and then add your own creative and satisfying ideas for self-care.
1. Take care of yourself physically
- Eat a well-balanced diet.
- Exercise. A brisk walk counts.
- Get enough rest. Try a bowl of Cheerios and milk before bed to promote sleep.
- Reduce daily caffeine intake.
- Avoid noisy and/or tension-filled movies at night, as well as the late news.
2. Take advantage of your resources
- Let family and friends help. Give them printed material on memory disorders so they can better understand your relative. Give them a chance.
- Explore community resources and connect yourself with them.
- Get professional help if you feel your support system isn't adequate or if you feel overwhelmed.
3. Talk with someone every day. Don’t remain isolated from others.
4. Give yourself permission to have a good cry. Tears aren't a weakness; they reduce tension.
Your doctor may send you to a specialist for further evaluation, or you may request to see a specialist yourself. Your insurance plan may require you to have a referral from your primary doctor. A visit to the specialist may be short. Often, the specialist already has seen your medical records or test results and is familiar with your case. If you are unclear about what the specialist tells you, ask questions.
For example, if the specialist says you have a medical condition that you aren’t familiar with, you may want to say something like: “I don’t know much about that condition. Could you explain what it is and how it might affect me?” or “I’ve heard that is a painful problem. What can be done to prevent or manage the pain?”
You also may ask for written materials to read, or you can call your primary doctor to clarify anything you haven’t understood.
Ask the specialist to send information about any diagnosis or treatment to your primary doctor. This allows your primary doctor to keep track of your medical care. You also should let your primary doctor know at your next visit how well any treatments or medications the specialist recommended are working.
Questions to Ask Your Specialist
- What is my diagnosis?
- What treatment do you recommend? How soon do I need to begin the new treatment?
- Will you discuss my care with my primary doctor?