Impacting over 6 million American families, Alzheimer’s disease is a common and emotional diagnosis. And like many emotional experiences, it’s one of those things that people think only happens to other families, not theirs.
A family member receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease can feel earth-shattering. You might experience a complex mix of emotions, have questions, or feel generally overwhelmed and confused about what comes next. Fortunately, support is available. Since it is a common condition, many families are going through exactly what you’re going through, and there is an abundance of research and knowledge available.
Franklin Park® Senior Living offers memory care programs throughout San Antonio, Texas. We know how difficult receiving an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis is, but you and your family can face the challenges, move forward, and manage this disease together with the right strategies.
Understand Your Emotions
After learning that your parent or family member has received a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, it’s normal to feel a wide range of feelings and emotions. It’s important to understand that there is no right or wrong way to feel, and each emotion you have is valid and shouldn’t be ignored or dismissed. Some feelings you may experience include anger, sadness, dread, loss, denial, confusion, and fear. While these feelings are all normal, if they interfere with your daily life or last overwhelmingly for more than a week, you may want to speak with a healthcare professional to find effective ways to manage them.
Think About Your Family Member’s Emotions, Too
While it’s important to recognize and understand your own feelings, don’t forget to check in with your family member who has just been diagnosed. Whatever you’re feeling, they are most likely feeling in a more elevated and intense manner. Offer your support and ask them if they want to talk things through and share any emotions.
Meet With Your Family Member’s Doctor
After your family member has received the life-changing news of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, they may have left their doctor’s office in a daze, unable to process the information in time to ask any specific or well-prepared questions. When your family member (and yourself) has had time to absorb the news, schedule another appointment with their healthcare provider to get answers to all your questions.
The Alzheimer’s Association offers excellent resources on questions to ask your doctor. Some examples include:
- How will the disease progress?
- What can our family expect in the future?
- How familiar are you with Alzheimer’s disease? How involved will you be in my family member’s care going forward?
- What treatment options are available?
- Are there any activities that could help slow the progression?
It can also help to research Alzheimer’s disease, including the progression and stages, lifestyle changes that help slow progression, and caregiver resources if you’ll be helping your family member. Just remember that not everything you read online may be true to your family member’s specific situation, and their doctor knows what is best for them.
Identify Sources of Help
After your family member receives an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, it can help reach out to family, friends, and even an online community for advice, support, or companionship. There are countless resources and support groups available for all types of stages and situations.
Don’t forget to communicate openly with other members of your family about sharing responsibilities. In the early stages of the disease, your family member may be able to remain independent, but as the disease progresses, they will likely require more attention and support. Your entire family must be on the same page about delegating responsibilities and easing the load.
Think About the Future
Planning for the future shortly after the diagnosis can be a wise decision. Doing so can ensure that your family member receives the best care throughout the stages of their disease. While they are still able to reason and communicate effectively, ask them their wishes regarding decision-making and any other important plans.
Together, you could even look at nearby memory care communities if this is something your family member desires. These programs are highly effective in creating an ideal and comfortable environment for those with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of memory loss.
Memory Care in San Antonio
Franklin Park® Senior Living offers several memory care communities throughout the San Antonio, Texas, area. Our Refreshing Waters® memory care program allows individuals with Alzheimer’s disease to live successfully and comfortably. At the same time, their family members have peace of mind knowing that they are in a safe, secure, and compassionate environment.
While receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease can be life-changing for everyone involved, it’s important to remember that there is help, resources, and, most importantly—hope. Furthermore, by understanding the care options available in exclusive memory care communities, you can ensure your family member lives their highest quality of life.
If someone you know has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, we invite you to reach out to the Franklin Park® memory care team for answers and support.