My Parent Has Been Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, What Do I Do?

Caregivers, You Are Not Alone. Introducing the Alzheimer’s Association’s Alzheimer’s Navigator Service


Grandparents Day 2010 (62)

Mom hasn’t been acting like herself. If you’re being honest, you’ve been noticing symptoms for a few years. Her memory was always like a steel trap, but now she’s started to forget birthdays and even the names of her newest grandchildren. Her personality has changed too. She was always sweet tempered before, but now she gets angry and paranoid for no reason. When you can’t ignore the symptoms any longer, you bring her to the doctor. After a professional evaluation, the doctor strongly suspects Alzheimer’s.

In a single moment, your world turns upside down.

Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s. That means that your mother’s condition will continue to progress. Her memory will deteriorate. The spells of anger and paranoia will increase. Questions fly through your mind a mile a minute. What treatments are available? Will Mom have to stop driving? Should she move in with me? Does this mean I’ll have to quit my job? How much time does she have?

You are not alone. More than five million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s and each of those individuals is surrounded by friends and family members who went through this same shock, fear, and worry that you are experiencing now.

Fortunately, there are many resources available to help. One of the most helpful, especially in the wake of a recent diagnosis, is the Alzheimer’s Navigator Service, offered for free by the Alzheimer’s Association, one of the largest nonprofits dedicated to Alzheimer’s research, education, and support.

Understanding the Alzheimer’s Navigator Service

The Alzheimer’s Navigator Service helps you create a personalized action plan. It offers helpful information, educational guides, and connections to local service providers in nine primary categories:

  • Working with Your Doctor
  • Symptoms
  • Safety
  • Legal Planning
  • Knowledge
  • Financial Planning
  • Caregiver Support
  • Care Options
  • Daily Living

After you’ve had time to work through the initial shock of your loved one’s diagnosis, it is time to start planning. Sign up to the Alzheimer’s Navigator service and begin exploring each category. For example, start by clicking on Working with Your Doctor. Once you put in your zip code, you’ll be asked to answer a series of questions about your loved one that will help you better plan his or her care with your doctor.

Each category provides important advice so that you can begin to form a plan that will improve the safety, care, and estate planning of your loved one.

Another great option if you live in the Poway area or anywhere in San Diego County is to attend Sunshine Care’s monthly caregiver support group. These fireside chats are free and open to the public. Here, you can meet with families who are facing the same questions and issues as you. This is a great place to get advice borne from experience and to learn more of what you can expect as your loved one’s condition progresses. Finally, our support group is a place to get… well, support! Sometimes you just need someone to listen to your worries, and this is the perfect chance for that.

Join us for our next meeting. We look forward to meeting you.

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Categories: Memory Care

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