The Value of an Early Diagnosis of Dementia
Many people who begin having cognitive problems that impact daily activities will delay sharing this information with their health care provider. For example, someone may keep forgetting to pay their bills on time or they may pay them twice. If these types of issues occur frequently, we recommend a visit to see a specialist, such as a neurologist, who can fully assess and diagnose cognitive issues such as dementia. By identifying dementia early, you may be able to take steps to slow its effects.
There are many factors that impact cognition. Some of these factors are “modifiable” meaning they can be improved and potentially slow the progression of cognitive decline. It is important to identify these factors which may include conditions such as depression, sleep disorders or hypertension.
Early diagnosis of dementia enables you to be proactive in caring for yourself. Knowing what is wrong will allow you to focus your attention on measures you can take now while you enjoy time with the people and things you care about.
Sharing your diagnosis with family and friends will encourage conversations about your needs and desires over time. Talking with those you trust and planning for your future will allow you to make the best decisions about how to live your life now.
Finding Care and Support: Tips for People Living with Dementia*
Many people may be able to help in different ways. These people might include family members, friends, professional caregivers, community organizations, and others with dementia. For example, you can:
- Ask friends or family to help with needs like cooking, paying bills, transportation, or shopping.
- If you live alone, find people you trust who can visit often.
- Let trusted neighbors know of your diagnosis so they can help if needed.
- Use social service agencies, local nonprofits, and Area Agencies on Aging to connect with in-home help, transportation, meals, and other services.
*These tips and more are available on Alzheimers.gov.