What is the Importance of Early Alzheimer’s Diagnosis?
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) may be the sixth leading cause of death in this country, but dementia from Alzheimer’s is still vastly underdiagnosed and underreported. Nearly half of patients with Alzheimer’s have already progressed into the moderate to severe stages of the disease at the time of diagnosis. This is unfortunate, as there are many things that can be done to help those who are just beginning to show signs of memory loss, as well as help the caregivers who are there to support them. It can even prompt discussions about Alzheimer’s home care in Hanover so the person with AD can get the help they need early on.
There is still no cure for Alzheimer’s but that doesn’t mean there are no treatment options available that can slow down symptom progression, particular when diagnosed early on.
Reasons Why Early Diagnosis is Key
When your elderly loved one is diagnosed early, this can act as the catalyst for conversations between family members as to how to plan for the future. No one wants to have this difficult conversation, but the earlier it is done, the better. With a clearer understanding of their loved one’s health needs, caregivers can begin the planning phase now while their loved one is still able to communicate their wishes through legal documents, such as powers of attorney, wills, advance health care directives, and trusts, says AgingCare.com.
This is the time to ask about their preferences when it comes to long-term and end-of-life care, putting the legal authority in their hands to ensure no confusion over roles occurs later.
There are also medical benefits to early diagnosis. When your loved one is seen by a doctor at the first sign of memory loss, their doctor can determine if their symptoms can be attributed to Alzheimer’s or if it signals a different condition. If it’s indeed Alzheimer’s, your loved one can:
- Get access to treatment options in order to lessen the symptoms, such as confusion and memory loss, points out the Alzheimer’s Association.
- Have an opportunity to participate in clinical trials.
- Prioritize their health by embarking on lifestyle changes to preserve cognitive function, from smoking cessation and stress management to controlling blood pressure and high cholesterol.
There are also emotional benefits as well. It can serve to lessen anxiety and fear of the future when an early Alzheimer’s diagnosis is made. A diagnosis can validate the worries you’ve been having about your symptoms, finally putting a name to the condition you’ve been suffering from. Now, you have the time to reach out for support and resources.
Additionally, there are cost savings to an early diagnosis. Indeed, you can save on medical and long-term care costs. Studies show that the savings are astronomical when Alzheimer’s disease is diagnosed at the mild cognitive impairment stage, collectively saving nearly $8 trillion in health and long-term care costs.
If your loved one’s recent behavior has been concerning you, encourage them to make an appointment with their doctor. Offer to go with them and outline the concerns you have in regards to confusion and memory loss. Being proactive is the first step in getting an early diagnosis and securing at home care in Hanover as needed.
Contact Preferred HealthStaff
To learn more about our senior home care services by professional, compassionate caregivers skilled in dementia care, contact us toll free at 866-943-9791 or in Fairfield 717-642-8500.