One of the most dreaded diagnoses a senior can be given is to be told they are suffering from dementia. They immediately fear the worst and without knowing the actual cause of the dementia they are suffering from, they automatically equate it to a death sentence. It is important to understand that not all dementia is the result of Alzheimer’s disease and even then, there are exceptions to the rule. With this in mind, it’s important to understand what you can, and should, do when you have been given a diagnosis of dementia.
Begin with Further Testing
Before going into panic mode, talk to your doctor about the various tests which can determine exactly why you have been given that diagnosis. There is even technology such as CAT scans and PET scans that can determine what exactly is going on in the brain and if there is any evidence of Alzheimer’s. If you are given a CAT or MRI, they are looking for any evidence of a stroke or internal bleeding within the brain. A PET scan, on the other hand, can show the presence of the tau or amyloid protein along with patterns of brain activity. Both of the above-mentioned proteins when deposited in the brain are characteristic of Alzheimer’s.
Prepare for the Future
In either case, whether age-related dementia or the result of Alzheimer’s, it is important that you begin making plans for the future while you still have the ability to do so. Knowing that in either case you will, at some point, lose much of your brain’s ability to function, you may want to begin looking for a nursing home in Princeton NJ, for example, if that’s close to where you now live. Looking closer at that nursing home in Princeton NJ like Brandywine with levels of care will help you determine at what point you may be unable to care for yourself. Depending on your specific diagnosis, can you expect the progression to be slow or fast, and will you be able to maintain in assisted living, for example, or will you need more intensive, skilled nursing services?
Get All Legalities Seen To
Whether you have family members who stand to inherit or may want to have a role in caring for you, it is imperative to get all the legal groundwork laid while you can still be said to be in ‘sound mind and body’ as the wording always went. The point being made is that dementia is progressive. You almost always will reach a point where you can no longer legally make sound decisions recognized in a court of law. Therefore, you now have the right to establish a care plan going forward but it must be completed while you are mentally (and legally) capable of making those decisions.
The one thing to remember is that no one knows how fast or slow dementia will be to render you unable to care for yourself or to make your own lifestyle decisions. This is why you are urged to make all plans that are important to you while you can. You know what you want and that is really all that matters. Take steps now to ensure you are afforded the future care you desire.