One of the most devastating diagnosis a person and their family can receive is that of Alzheimer’s disease. The diagnosis is life changing and often leaves the person and their family unsure how to respond or what to do next. The disease is progressive beginning with mild memory loss leading to the loss of the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). It involves the parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language. The disease typically strips a person of their ability to carry out daily activities.
As many as 5 million Americans were living with Alzheimer’s disease in 2014, according to the CDC. That number is expected to nearly triple to 14 million people by 2060.
Scientists still do not know what causes Alzheimer’s disease and there are no known cures.
According to the CDC, Alzheimer’s disease treatment goal is to improve the quality of life for patents and their caregivers. Treatment addresses helping people maintain mental function, manage behavioral symptoms and slowing or delaying the symptoms of the disease.
Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia is a life-encompassing experience that spans generations. Everyone has a role: spouses, siblings, children of all ages, and friends each play a part on the care team. It requires thought, strategy and, most importantly, a plan.
The Alzheimer’s Association provides care consultations, free of charge, to assist patients and their families.
Care consultations are a free service that offer an in-depth, personalized care plan, education and support. A consultation is more than just a meeting with a dementia expert. Highly trained staff help to develop a road map to navigate through the thoughts, emotions and questions that family members, care partners and the diagnosed person may have, including:
- Assessment of the functional status of the person with dementia
- Navigating difficult caregiving decisions and role changes in the family
- Information and resources to assist with legal and financial matters
- Available community resources
- Partnering with the physician and/or health care provider
- Safety concerns
The Alzheimer’s Association National Capital Area Chapter offers free care consultations at their offices in Rockville and in McLean, Va. For more information and to schedule a consultation, call the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900.