Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that destroys memory and other important mental functions. It is the most common cause of dementia in older adults. According to the Mayo Clinic “dementia describes a group of symptoms affecting memory, thinking and social abilities severely enough to interfere with daily functioning.”
Diagnosing Dementia and Alzheimer’s
To diagnose Alzheimer’s, doctors will assess memory problems, run laboratory tests to rule out other disorders, and possibly conduct brain imaging tests (MRI, CT, or PET scan) to look for degeneration of cells.
A diagnosis of dementia requires that as least two of the following core mental functions be impaired enough to interfere with daily living: memory, language skills, ability to focus and pay attention, ability to reason and problem solve, and visual perception.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
Receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or Dementia is life-changing news. It is important to understand what the diagnosis means for you and your family. It may be necessary to get your questions answered at a follow-up appointment.
We encourage you to make a list of questions to ask your doctor. Below are just a few questions we recommend.
- How will this disease progress?
- What is my prognosis?
- What can I expect in the future?
- How will this diagnosis affect my overall health?
- At what point should I stop driving? What about stopping other activities?
- Will you be managing my care moving forward?
- If so, how often will I need to come in for follow-up appointments?
- What resources are available to help my family and I learn more about this diagnosis?
- What support services are available to help me live well with the disease for as long as possible?
This list is not exhaustive. It’s important that you ask your doctor everything that you want and need to know specific to your situation and health care needs.
When you or a loved one receives a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia, the impact can be devastating for you and your family. If you are in this situation, it is important that you get your questions answered so that you can make informed decisions on how to move forward.
If you have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia, we urge you to take immediate steps in order to ensure that your wishes are carried out with respect to your financial affairs and your health care decisions.
For additional information, read our articles:
- What Steps Should I Take Immediately if I am Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease?
- Living With Assistance: Home Care and Home Support Services
At Elder Law Group PLLC we know that making arrangements for the eventuality of aging, Long-Term Care, and mental or physical incapacity can be very stressful and emotional. We strive to remove some of the burden from you and your family by helping you create an Estate Plan that addresses your needs in detail.
Contact us or call (509) 468-0551 (Spokane office), or (509) 579-0206 (Tri-Cities office) to learn more about Estate Planning or other legal needs of seniors, the disabled, or vulnerable adults and their families.