New findings from an Alzheimer's Association survey found a majority
of Americans would be concerned about offending a family member (76
percent), or ruining their relationship (69 percent) if they were to
approach that person about observed signs of Alzheimer's. More
alarming, 38 percent said they would wait until a family member's
Alzheimer's symptoms worsened before approaching them with concerns.
Additionally, nearly 1 in 3 Americans (29 percent) would not say
anything to a family member despite their concerns. To help people
understand early symptoms of Alzheimer's or behaviors that merit
discussion, the Alzheimer's Association offers the 10 Early Signs
and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
The Alzheimer's Association also offers Six Tips for Approaching
Alzheimer's, a list of best practices for talking about the disease
with someone who may be experiencing these symptoms.
The six tips include:
the conversation as early as possible
Think about who's best suited to have the conversation
Practice conversation starters
Offer support and companionship
Anticipate gaps in self-awareness
Recognize the conversation may not go as planned
Understanding the Value of an Early Alzheimer's Diagnosis
There are many medical, financial, emotional and social benefits to
receiving an early Alzheimer's diagnosis – both for those living
with the disease and their families.
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Accurate diagnosis – Can help determine if someone's cognitive changes are truly
due to Alzheimer's or some other, perhaps even treatable, condition.
Medical benefits – Allows individuals to explore medications for memory loss,
sleep changes and behavior changes resulting from the disease, as well as to
adopt lifestyle changes that may help preserve their existing cognitive function
for as long as possible, such as controlling one's blood pressure, smoking
cessation and exercise.
Participation in clinical trials – Enables individuals to enroll in clinical
trials that advance research and may provide medical benefits.
Planning for the future – Allows individuals more time to plan for the future
while they are cognitively able to make legal, financial and end-of-life
Emotional and social benefits – Provides individuals with the best opportunity
to spend time doing meaningful activities and interacting with the most
important people in their lives. It can also open doors to many educational and