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Alzheimer’s is a very common type of dementia disorder and affects more than six million Americans. Even though the disease is much prevalent and many people are familiar with the disease, there are many misconceptions about the meaning of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. The stigma surrounding the disease results in people suffering from Alzheimer’s feeling misunderstood and lonely, which can lower the quality of life, quick progress of symptoms, etc.
If your senior loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or if you think that your loved one is developing symptoms of the disease, both of you need to understand that Alzheimer’s patients can live full and satisfying lives for many years after the diagnosis of the disease. With support from friends, family, caregivers, and healthcare professionals, life with Alzheimer’s can be worthwhile.
The stigma surrounding Alzheimer’s can have many negative effects on the life of the person who receives a diagnosis. It is not uncommon for people experiencing Alzheimer’s symptoms to delay treatment and proper memory care. Due to a sense of fear or shame, many people will put off the planning of disease progression.
Senior care and memory care experts emphasize the need to encourage your loved one to speak to their doctor as soon as possible if loss of memory starts affecting daily tasks and routines. Delaying diagnosis and treatment can negatively affect their health and well-being. Some big concerns for people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s are the stigma that can make friends and family withdraw from their lives, dismissing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s as typical aging-related problems, and avoiding discussions about the health condition altogether.
As the final stages of the disease are very feared, a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s can negatively affect family relations, which can result in a lack of emotional support from family members and isolation. The impact of stigma surrounding Alzheimer’s can be very much damaging to the mental health of the patient. Losing touch with friends and family and being excluded from conversations can be detrimental to mental health. Therefore, it is important to form a strong support network encouraging open communication right from the early stage of the disease. Also, the diagnosed person should be given autonomy in terms of decision-making, which can help prevent feelings of helplessness.
With proper treatment, emotional support, and care, seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s can lead a full life for many years.