Why is an early diagnosis crucial for people with Alzheimer’s Disease?

There isn’t a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, so why does waiting make a difference? The top reason for regret was not being able to access treatment options sooner — options that could help deal the symptoms and potentially slow the progression of the disease. Such treatments could help preserve cognitive functioning and allow people to remain independent longer states an article in Fiftyplus.com.

Another reason respondents wished they had known sooner was so they could prepare. Unfortunately, when many patients do get a diagnosis it’s too late for them to make decisions concerning their future — or to be legally, financially and emotionally prepared. Nearly 80 per cent of the caregivers in the survey felt that having a diagnosis would have helped them get their legal and financial affairs in order.

Likewise, 69 per cent of caregivers felt that knowing about the disease early on would help them keep their loved one at home longer and allow him or her to be more involved in decision making.

“Diagnosis does not mean the world ends tomorrow,” said Mary Schulz, national education director of the Alzheimer Society, in an article in The Globe and Mail [2].  ”People with dementia can live meaningful lives for a long time – and they can do so a lot more easily if they know what’s coming.”

In addition, the majority of respondents wished they had a better understanding of what their loved one was going through. Sixty two per cent of caregivers reported that an early diagnosis would improve their ability to cope with the disease.

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