Wishful Thinking is Not a Treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease

Wishful thinking isn’t a treatment option states Fiftyplus.com. We know early detection and treatment are crucial for any disease and Alzheimer’s disease is no exception. While there isn’t a cure, finding the disease in its earlier stages means better hope for treatment — but it also gives families more time to find the support they need and plan for the future.

Unfortunately a new survey warns that many people aren’t heeding the warning signs of Alzheimer’s — and they’re not seeking help soon enough.

The survey was commissioned by the Alzheimer’s Society, as part of its Let’s face it! [1] campaign. Over 950 people took part in the survey: all of the participants — nearly an equal number of men and women aged 45-65 — were current caregivers for someone suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

The results? It turns out many people aren’t aware of the early warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease — and put off getting help as a result.

The survey revealed that:

– Too many people are waiting too long before seeing help. Nearly half (44 per cent) of respondents said their loved one waited a year or more after first noticing symptoms before they saw a doctor. Among that group, 16 per cent waited about two years from the time they first noticed symptoms like memory loss, disorientation and personality changes.

And that’s just the initial appointment with a family doctor — getting an appointment to see a specialist and finally receiving a diagnosis can take a lot longer than that. During this time, the disease process isn’t being addressed.

– Why did people wait? More than half of respondents attributed their loved one’s symptoms to “old age”.  Nearly 40 per cent of respondents also thought their loved one’s symptoms weren’t that serious because they were episodic — that is, the symptoms came and went.

– Over one quarter of sufferers refused to see a doctor about their symptoms when prompted by others — and said they would only go if things got worse.

– Fear also played a role. Thirteen per cent also reported delaying because they were afraid Alzheimer’s would be the diagnosis.

In short, many people don’t understand the early symptoms of the disease — and they don’t take the signs seriously enough to seek help.

Unfortunately, this delay in getting help often leads to regret later down the road. More than three quarters of respondents (the caregivers) said they wished they had received a diagnosis sooner.

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