Receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia is life changing. Individuals and their families may experience a range of emotions, including anger, denial, grief and fear. For some, there can be actual relief. They might have suspected something was wrong and with a diagnosis they can now plan better for the future.
There may also be feelings of uncertainty about the options available but it’s important to understand there are still many decisions and positive steps that can contribute to achieving a higher quality of life.
Memory care polarities and the advantage of an early diagnosis
Memory care polarities – or opposite situations – can result in different experiences for those with dementia, such as whether an early or delayed diagnosis was received.
An early diagnosis allows you to get accurate information, support and the knowledge of what to expect as you navigate this journey. But one challenge is in recognizing the symptoms as dementia instead of assuming the forgetfulness or mild confusion is due to aging. Knowing the signs can be key – as well as eliminating other physical or medical causes.
Signs of early-stage Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia includes:
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life
- Challenges in planning or solving problems
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks
- Confusion with time or place
- Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
- New problems with words in speaking or writing
- Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
- Decreased or poor judgment
- Withdrawal from work or social activities
- Changes in mood and personality
Download our complimentary guide, Choosing the Right Senior Living Community: A Step by Step Guide for Making an Informed Decision.
Medical benefits of an early dementia diagnosis
Access to treatment options: even though there isn’t a cure, there are treatments that might reduce cognitive and functional decline or lessen symptoms of memory loss and confusion for a limited time.
Opportunity to participate in clinical trials: an early diagnosis may allow eligibility for more clinical trials which could provide medical benefits and advance research.
Chance to prioritize your health: making lifestyle changes such as exercising or staying socially active might help preserve cognitive function.
Emotional and social benefits of an early diagnosis
Lessen anxieties: an early diagnosis can remove the uncertainty of the cause of symptoms.
Maximize time: there can be more quality time to spend with family and friends.
Access support: more time to find resources and support programs.
How early diagnosis = more time to plan for the future
Make your own decisions: making decisions for yourself, your future and your family is greatly beneficial and can include what treatments or care options you would like during each stage of the disease.
Ability to express your wishes: you would have the chance to discuss and finalize your wishes regarding legal, financial and end-of-life decisions.
Source: Alzheimer’s Association
The impact of an early vs delayed diagnosis
The benefits of an early diagnosis allow for individuals to take control and maintain self-sufficiency for as long as possible. Research has shown that remaining engaged can often slow the symptoms of dementia. There is still joy that can be found in life and taking steps to be active, eat healthy, enjoy friends and family and continue favorite hobbies provides a strong sense of independence.
The reasons for receiving a delayed diagnosis may be due to misinterpreting symptoms as part of the normal aging process or fear of the diagnosis. But while individuals may be at a higher health risk or unable to take advantage of all the activities, therapies and programs, they will still benefit from the compassion and attention of memory care.
The advantages of these communities extend to anyone living with dementia, regardless of which stage they may be in. Benefits include a safe and secure environment, social interactions and programs, healthy dining and around-the-clock personalized care delivered by a specially trained staff.
Discover life at a Northbridge community.
If you’re considering senior living for yourself or a family member, we hope you’ll visit one of our communities. You’ll find a maintenance-free, activity-filled and engaging lifestyle to help support your wellness goals.
You’ll also discover many benefits in a Northbridge Senior Living community, including our Signature Program S.T.A.R. Club (Sharp Thinking, Active Residents) – which offers our residents several activities to participate in with others, including:
- Daily exercise group
- Walking club
- Tai Chi & yoga
- Nutritional classes
- Library and book club
- Museum outings
- Artists in residence program
- Multi-generational music
- Genealogy Generations
We’re here to answer any of your questions. Please contact us if we can provide further information or if you would like to schedule a personalized tour. Download our complimentary guide Choosing the Right Senior Living Community: A Step by Step Guide for Making an Informed Decision.