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Ingleside at Rock Creek Blog

IRC Blog
Posted: Monday, May 24, 2021

Recently Diagnosed With Alzheimer’s? First Steps to Take

If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, you may find yourself  understandably unsettled and unsure of what to do next.

It is a life-changing diagnosis and it’s common to find yourself feeling numb, unable to make sense of what has happened or as though your mind is racing with everything that needs to be done.

Take a breath, try to remain calm and don’t get too far ahead of yourself. There are steps you can take to help plan for the future and there is support. You won’t need to go through this alone. You’ll find you can still actively create a quality of life and that can make all the difference.

What to do after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis

The National Institute on Aging has created a brief summary on what to do after receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, which is outlined below. Consider these next steps:

1. Learn about Alzheimer’s.

Becoming informed will help you better prepare for what to expect and what steps you should take. Your local hospitals or aging centers are good places to start for information on resources in your area. National sources include:

Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias Education and Referral

www.alzheimers.gov

(800) 438-4380

Alzheimer’s Association

www.alz.org

(800) 272-3900

Alzheimer’s Foundation of America

https://alzfdn.org

(866) 232-8484

2. Get regular medical care

Make and keep regular appointments with your doctor. Don’t ignore other health issues because you’ve been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Consider going to a memory disorders clinic. Ask your doctor for a referral.

3. Find local services and support

Finding what resources are available in your area can open the door to discovering other services. Consider these:

Eldercare Locator

https://eldercare.acl.gov

(800) 677-1116

Local Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center

www.nia.nih.gov/health/alzheimersdisease-research-centers

For local chapters, organizations and support groups

Alzheimer’s Association

www.alz.org

(800) 272-3900

Alzheimer’s Foundation of America

https://alzfdn.org

(866) 232-8484

4. Get help to plan ahead

Being prepared is one of the most proactive steps you can take. Taking action can actually make you feel better and more in control.

For help in planning

www.nia.nih.gov/health/legal-and-fnancialplanning-people-alzheimers

Prepare or update legal documents, including your health care power of attorney, financial power of attorney, your will and living will,. To find an attorney, contact your local bar association or the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys at www.naela.org

Planning for future care that may be needed

https://longtermcare.acl.gov

Assistance to pay for medicines, housing, transportation and more

www.benefitscheckup.org

5. Tips and ideas for help with daily tasks

Most people remain at home in the earlier stages of the illness. These simple suggestions can help you maintain your independence:

  • Use a notepad or sticky notes to jot down reminders

  • Try a pillbox to keep medications organized

  • Consider a calendar or day scheduler for your appointments

  • Research different technology solutions

Review tips about coping and preparing for changes at: www.nia.nih.gov/health/alzheimers/caregiving

6. Home safety tips

Ask your doctor to order a home-safety evaluation and a recommendation for a home health care agency to conduct it. The cost may be covered by Medicare.

Consider wearing a medical ID bracelet in case you get lost or need help.

Join the MedicAlert and Alzheimer’s Association’s Wandering Support program at:

www.medicalert.org/alz

7. Make sure you’re safe on the road

Get a driving evaluation. Ask your doctor for recommendations or visit the American Occupational Therapy Association at: https://myaota.aota.org/driver_search

Learn tips for driving safety at: www.nia.nih.gov/health/driving-safety-andalzheimers-disease

Talk to your doctor if you’re getting lost or confused or if others are worried about your driving.

8. Stay healthy

Staying as healthy as possible will help. Talk to your doctor for tips or visit these sources:

Stay active with exercise and feel better. Visit www.nia.nih.gov/health/exercise-physical-activity

Eat a healthy diet. Visit www.nia.nih.gov/health/healthy-eating

Stay cognitively engaged. Visit with family and friends, participate in hobbies and activities.

9. If you’re still working

If you’re struggling to perform your job, ask about possibilities to reduce your hours or transfer to a position that’s less demanding.

Consider consulting with your company’s HR department about family leave, disability or other employee benefits.

Find out if you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits through “compassionate allowances.” Contact www.ssa.gov/compassionateallowances or (800) 772-1213.

10. Consider participating in a clinical trial

Ask your doctor about trials and studies, if you’re interested.

Contact an Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center for assessment and potential research opportunities.

Search for a trial or study near you or one that you could participate in remotely:  www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/clinical-trials

Learn more about clinical trials:

NIA Clinical Trials Information: www.nia.nih.gov/health/clinical-trials

National Institutes of Health: www.nih.gov/health-information/ nih-clinical-research-trials-you

11. If you live alone

Identify someone to visit regularly and be your emergency contact.

If you may be at risk of falling, order an emergency response system to summon help if you can’t reach the phone.

Consider working with an occupational therapist to learn ways to remain independent. Your doctor can provide more information.

Simplify your life. Stay with familiar places, people and routines.

Get tips about self-care, safety and staying connected at: www.nia.nih.gov/health/tips-living-alone-earlystage-dementia

How a memory care community can help

For those who have been recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and those who may be living alone without family or a support system in the area, a memory care community can bring a sigh of relief.

In the early stages of the illness, most people remain in their homes and are able to navigate the challenges. But knowing there is a solution that is specialized in providing the type of compassion and care needed takes away a lot of anxiety about the future.

Ingleside at Rock Creek Memory Support Assisted Living

We understand the fear and anxiety of receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and are here as a resource for the individuals and their families. It’s important to remember that even though this is a life-changing illness, a quality and meaningful life is still possible.

As Alzheimer’s is a progressive illness, if the time does come when a higher level of care is needed we hope you’ll consider Ingleside at Rock Creek Memory Support Assisted Living. 

Our compassionate staff, therapies, programs and residences are all designed to provide our residents with the highest level of care, independence and dignity. We are also a supportive resource to our families.

Please visit our website for more information. Call (202) 846-2651 if you have any questions or would like to schedule a personalized tour today.

 



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