Courtesy of the Alzheimer’s Association San Fernando Valley Office
If you notice any of the 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease in yourself or someone you know, schedule an appointment with your doctor. An early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s provides a range of benefits for the individuals who are diagnosed. Getting checked by your doctor can help determine if the symptoms you are experiencing are truly due to Alzheimer’s or some other — perhaps even treatable — condition. If Alzheimer’s is the cause, an early diagnosis allows you: access to treatment options or provides an opportunity to participate in clinical trials. Early diagnosis enables you to prioritize your health: Some lifestyle changes, such as controlling blood pressure, stopping smoking, participating in exercise, and staying mentally and socially active, may help preserve cognitive function.
Receiving an early Alzheimer’s diagnosis may help lessen anxieties about why you are experiencing symptoms. You and your family also have the opportunity to maximize your time together and access resources and support programs.
Finally, an early diagnosis allows you to map out your plan to approach Alzheimer’s with Alzheimer’s Navigator®, an online tool that helps individuals living with Alzheimer’s, their families and caregivers create a customized action plan to proactively face this disease.
Do you know who you would want to make decisions for you in the event you’re no longer able to? An earlier diagnosis also allows you to be open with your family and support network about what you want during each stage of the disease. This can give you peace of mind, reduce the burden on family members and prevent disagreements.
Early diagnosis saves costs of medical and long-term care while also allowing you to express your wishes about legal, financial and end-of-life decisions. You and your family will be able to review and update legal documents, discuss finances and property, and identify your care preferences. You can also address potential safety issues, such as driving or wandering, ahead of time.
For more information about the 10 early signs of Alzheimer’s disease, visit alz.org. To find your local San Fernando Valley office or for 24/7 support, contact the Alzheimer’s Association Helpline at 800.272.3900.