The Importance of Early Detection
The Importance of Early Detection
Dementia is a profoundly life-changing condition and reactions to a diagnosis can range from dismay and deep sadness to anger and despair. But for many people, it can also come as a relief. A diagnosis may well provide long-awaited answers for a failing memory, communication problems, and changes in behavior.
An early diagnosis opens the door to future care and treatment. It helps people to plan ahead while they are still able to make important decisions on their care and support needs and on financial and legal matters. It also helps them and their families to receive practical information, advice, and guidance as they face new challenges.
Early detection is also important to determine if the symptoms you are experiencing are truly due to Alzheimer’s or some other — perhaps even treatable — condition.
If Alzheimer’s is the cause, an early diagnosis allows you:
- Access to treatment options: While current medications do not prevent, stop or reverse Alzheimer’s, they can help lessen the symptoms, such as memory loss and confusion, for a limited time. An early Alzheimer’s diagnosis provides you with a better chance of benefiting from treatment.
- An opportunity to participate in clinical trials: An early diagnosis makes individuals eligible for a wider variety of clinical trials, which advance research and may provide medical benefits.
- Chance to prioritize your health: Some lifestyle changes, such as controlling blood pressure, stopping smoking, participating in exercise, and staying mentally and socially active, may help preserve cognitive function.
Emotional and social benefits
Receiving an early Alzheimer’s diagnosis may help lessen anxieties about why you are experiencing symptoms. You and your family also have the opportunity to maximize your time together and access resources and support programs.
More time to plan for the future
Map out your plan to approach Alzheimer’s with Alzheimer’s Navigator®, an online tool that helps individuals living with Alzheimer’s, their families and caregivers create a customized action plan to proactively face this disease.
Do you know who you would want to make decisions for you in the event you’re no longer able to? An earlier diagnosis also allows you to be open with your family and support network about what you want during each stage of the disease. This can give you peace of mind, reduce the burden on family members and prevent disagreements.
Planning ahead allows you to express your wishes about legal, financial, and end-of-life decisions. You and your family will be able to review and update legal documents, discuss finances and property, and identify your care preferences. You can also address potential safety issues, such as driving or wandering, ahead of time.
Early diagnosis saves costs of medical and long-term care for both families and the U.S. government. Among all Americans alive today, if those who will get Alzheimer’s disease were diagnosed when they had mild cognitive impairment, before dementia, it would collectively save $7 trillion to $7.9 trillion* in health and long-term care costs.
An early diagnosis – and access to the right services and support – can help people take control of their condition, plan for the future and live well with dementia.
– Jennifer Nance, M.Ed, SMC-C
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Thank you so much for the loving care and compassion you showed to our mother and to us during her stay and death. We know, she was not the most compliant person, buy you showed her the same loving care no matter what. We were blessed to have her in your care. You are truly all angels. Thank you again!
I want to take the opportunity to thank you for the wonderful care you gave my dad the last 5 1/2 months of his life. If he couldn’t be at home with my mother, you were the next closest thing.
Thanks to the staff for your ongoing care of my Dad. Your patience, kindness and caring for Dad help my Mom and I rest easy knowing he is in good hands at all times. Thanks for everything you do for him!
Every time my family visits each week for their porch visit mom looks FABULOUS! You and your whole organization really understand what to do with the residents and I have seen an amazing change. You are a blessing to our family.
Thank you also for the very touching and beautiful memorial service and luncheon honoring Mom and Dad. It meant a lot to us to have all of you share your remembrances of them.
Marianne & family
We greatly appreciate all that you have done for my Dad and for us. Your compassion, dedication, and gentle ways were a tremendous help. No one ever said to us, “It will be okay,” instead you said “We’ll help you.”
Alzheimer’s and dementia are formidable foes and they strip the individuals stricken of all of their dignity, yet you and your staff work diligently to reinstate the dignity and you do it quite successfully.
This is to thank you and all the Kemper staff who organized the memorial service last Friday. The content was perfectly appropriate and many of the participants expressed compliments to the kitchen staff for the great luncheon.