Receiving an Alzheimer’s Disease diagnosis can be a daunting experience, both for the individual diagnosed and for their loved ones. As the disease progresses, it can create challenges on multiple fronts, making a supportive network essential. If someone you love has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, we know you may have questions.
November is Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and, unfortunately, research tells us there are over 6 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s Disease with 3 million new cases diagnosed each year. Let us share six meaningful ways you can stand by them and support them as they navigate this challenging time.
- Educate yourself about the disease. To offer genuine support, understanding the nature of Alzheimer’s is crucial. Familiarize yourself with the progression of the disease, potential symptoms, and treatments. Resources like the Alzheimer’s Association provide valuable insights. This knowledge will not only equip you to assist your loved one but will also foster empathy and patience.
- Open a line of communication. Encourage open and regular conversations with your loved one. While it may be difficult, discussing their feelings, fears, and concerns about the diagnosis is crucial. It gives them an avenue to express themselves and reinforces the fact that they are not facing this challenge alone.
- Create a safe and predictable environment. As Alzheimer’s Disease progresses, familiar surroundings can provide comfort. Making their environment safe and predictable can prevent potential accidents. This might involve removing clutter, clearly labeling items, and using alarms or reminders for important tasks.
- Ensure estate planning is current and accurate. Legal and financial preparations are integral for someone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. They will want to work with an experienced estate planning attorney to make certain that their estate planning is up-to-date. This includes having a current last will and testament or trust agreement, designating power of attorney, and ensuring that advanced medical directives are in place. When you consult with an attorney who specializes in estate planning and elder law, they can provide guidance tailored to your loved one’s needs, ensuring that their wishes are honored and their assets protected.
- Be patient and stay engaged. Engage your loved one in activities that they enjoy. Whether it’s listening to music, crafting, or taking walks, these activities can help maintain their cognitive function and offer moments of joy. Also, be prepared for changes in behavior and mood. Approach them with patience, understanding that these shifts are a result of the disease.
- Seek support for yourself. Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease can be emotionally and physically taxing. It’s essential to take care of your well-being too. Consider joining a support group for Alzheimer’s caregivers, seeking counseling, or simply setting aside time for self-care. Your well-being directly influences the quality of care you can provide.
Supporting a loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease requires a multifaceted approach, encompassing emotional, physical, and legal aspects. While the journey may be challenging, remember that with knowledge, patience, and a strong support system, both you and your loved one can navigate this chapter of your lives with resilience and hope.
We know this article raises more questions than it answers. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys, PA, is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to provide service in Jupiter, as well as Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties in Florida. Our law firm will guide you through legal challenges involving elder law, estate planning, trusts, veterans benefits, real estate, and more. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.