Understanding early stage Alzheimer’s disease can help you and your family properly prepare for the future. While everyone experiences Alzheimer’s differently, the beginning stage of this disease can progress for several years. Actually, Alzheimer’s disease starts well before any of the symptoms are apparent, which is detectable through new brain imaging technology.
As early stage Alzheimer’s sets in, your loved one may retain their ability to function independently. Your role as a caregiver will primarily be one of companionship and support. Most importantly, your role is to help your loved one plan for the future.
If your loved one is in the early stage of Alzheimer's disease, it may interfere with their ability to perform daily routine and complete certain tasks. They may exhibit one or more of the following symptoms:
If your loved one is diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer’s disease, it doesn’t just affect them; it affects you and everyone who loves them. During this stage, many people consider themselves as a care partner because someone with early stage Alzheimer’s disease may not need as much assistance. You should work to familiarize yourself with the disease and work toward expectation setting.
Fortunately, an early stage diagnosis means you and your loved one may still be able to have conversations about the future together, including:
By having these conversations now, you may be able to reduce the anxiety about the future, which can lead to better understanding of what's important to you and your family. LIAF is here to offer support, information, and answer to your questions.
One of the biggest challenges caregivers or care partners face is not knowing the adequate level of assistance to provide. Your ability to provide support where needed may be valuable in helping your loved one develop additional coping strategies, which can help maximize their independence.
Although all relationships are different, striking a balance between independence and interdependence can help increase confidence for you and your loved one with Alzheimer’s. Use the following tips to help strike a balance and learn when your assistance is needed.
In the end, the goal is to help your loved one retain their independence.
The role of care partner isn’t limited to close family members, spouses, or partners. Care partners can also include friends, long-distance relatives, and neighbors. If you are caring for a loved one with early stage dementia as a remote care partner or secondary care partner, it can be especially difficult to understand the exact level of assistance required without direct supervision. Whenever you can, create and use your extended network of support to discuss insights or plan to meet your loved one with early stage Alzheimer’s disease in their own environment.
An early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease means you have more freedom to plan for the future. And the Long Island Alzheimer's Foundation is here for you and your loved one — every step of the way. Our cutting-edge day program is designed to stimulate individuals with early stage Alzheimer's disease and extend their independence
Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease?