Recognizing Alzheimer's disease in its early stages, when
treatment may relieve mild symptoms,
gives you time to adjust. During this time, you and your family
can make financial, legal, and
medical plans for the future.
Your health care team may include your family doctor and medical
specialists such as
psychiatrists or neurologists, psychologists, therapists, nurses,
social workers, and counselors.
They can work together to help you understand your condition,
suggest memory aids, and tell
you and your family about ways you can stay independent as long
Talk with your doctors about activities that could be dangerous
for you or others, such as driving
or cooking. Explore different ways to do things.
Telling Family and Friends
Ask your doctor for help in telling people who need to know that
you have Alzheimer's disease
members of your family, friends, and coworkers, for example.
Alzheimer's disease is stressful for you and your family.
You and your caregiver will need
support from others. Working together eases the stress on
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Where To Get Help?
Learning that you have Alzheimer's disease can be very hard to
deal with. It is important to
share your feelings with family and friends.
Many kinds of help are available for persons with Alzheimer's
disease, their families, and
caregivers. Turn to the back of this booklet for a list of
resources for patients and families. These
- Support groups. Sometimes it helps to talk things
over with other people and families
who are coping with Alzheimer's disease. Families and friends of
Alzheimer's disease have formed support groups. The Alzheimer's
active groups across the country. Many hospitals also sponsor
education programs and
support groups to help patients and families.
- Financial and medical planning. Time to plan can be
a major benefit of identifying
Alzheimer's disease early. You and your family will need to
where you will live
and who will provide help and care when you need them.
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- Legal matters. It is also important to think about
certain legal matters. An attorney can
give you legal advice and help you and your family make plans for
the future. A special
document called an advance directive lets others know what you
would like them to do if
you become unable to think clearly or speak for yourself.
Other Booklets Are Available
The information in this booklet is based on Recognition and
Initial Assessment of Alzheimer's
Disease and Related Dementias: Clinical Practice Guideline No.
19. The Clinical Practice Guideline is scheduled to be
released later this year (Winter 1996). A multidisciplinary panel
of physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, neurologists,
nurses, a geriatrician, a social worker,
and two consumer representatives developed the guideline. The
Agency for Health Care Policy
and Research (AHCPR), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services,
supported its development. Other AHCPR guidelines may be helpful
to families affected by
Alzheimer's disease. They include: