From relief over receiving a diagnosis to uncertainty about the future – there are a wide range of emotions that often accompany an Alzheimer’s disease or dementia diagnosis. It isn’t unusual for caregivers to feel overwhelmed by the amount of information being shared, which may leave them unsure what questions they should ask.
Following are some helpful questions to ask if your loved one has been recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
Questions to Ask After a Dementia or Alzheimer’s Diagnosis
The following questions suggested by Verywell Health are aimed at helping you better understand your loved one’s condition, so you can provide the best care possible.
- What type of dementia does my loved one have?
There are several different types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. Educating yourself about their specific condition will give you a better understanding of symptoms, available treatment options, and how the disease typically progresses.
- What tests did you use to diagnose my loved one?
Knowing what tests were used and how your loved one performed will give you an idea of their strengths and weaknesses in several key areas, including decision making, communication, and judgement.
- What stage is my loved one in? How quickly will it progress?
Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease typically progresses through stages – early, middle, and late. The type of dementia your loved one has been diagnosed with will give you a better understanding of how quickly they might progress through the stages.
While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, there are medications that can help with memory loss and confusion. There are also treatment options available for psychological symptoms and sleep disturbances. Here are some helpful questions from the Alzheimer’s Association that you can ask your loved one’s doctor:
- What is the medication being prescribed for?
There are different classes of medications used to treat some of the symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Ask your loved one’s doctor what the medication’s intended purpose is, and how long they expect your loved one to take it.
- How will we know if the treatment is effective?
Ask your loved one’s doctor how they plan to measure whether a medication is working or not. How much time are they willing to spend before deciding to try a different medication?
- What side effects can we expect? What warrants a phone call?
Discuss with your loved one’s doctor or pharmacist what side effects are common with the medications that have been prescribed. What symptoms – drug-related, or otherwise – should you contact the doctor about?
Planning for the Future
Your loved one’s doctor is a key partner in helping you prepare for the future. The following questions from AARP may be useful as you work together to create a care plan for your loved one.
- Is it safe for my loved one to stay at home?
This is one of the most difficult questions facing caregivers – especially if their loved one wants to remain in their own home. Your loved one’s doctor should be able to help guide your decision-making process, as well as provide suggestions for what precautions you may need to take.
- Are there support groups or respite services in our area?
Being a caregiver can be a rewarding, but stressful experience. Practicing good self-care will help you provide the best care to your loved one. Your loved one’s doctor should have a list of resources that may be useful during your caregiver journey.
- How will I know if my loved one needs a memory care program?
Another difficult question facing caregivers is deciding when to seek additional care for their loved one. Discuss your concerns with your loved one’s doctor, as well as what services are available in your area.
More Caregiver Resources
If you enjoyed this article, dive into one of our other great reads. Discover some simple self-care ideas, or tips for caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease.