Anyone who has ever worked with someone with Alzheimer’s disease or who has a loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease knows how important it is for the patient’s future for an early diagnosis to be made. A new study shows that many people are unfortunately being deprived this information. A study by the Alzheimer’s Association revealed that only 45 percent of the people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease (or their primary caregivers) are told about the diagnosis.
What this means for the patients
These disclosure rates are disturbingly low, and are not unlike the rates that we saw back in the 1950s and 60s when healthcare professionals were talking about cancer. Even just saying the word ‘cancer’ seemed taboo at that time. Now it seems that addressing Alzheimer’s disease has some of that same stigma attached to it.
The report also showed that after the disease had reached a more advanced stage, people who lived with the disease were far more likely to be told about an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis. Unfortunately, because of the destructive nature of the disease, a later diagnosis can have a profound impact on the person’s ability to plan for future care, look after the fulfillment of life goals, or plan their finances.
Why an early diagnosis matters
While many people look at Alzheimer’s disease as a disease that takes individuality from the person suffering from it, it is vital that physicians do respect people’s autonomy while still possible. It is imperative that these people be empowered to make their own decisions.
The reason that some healthcare providers cited for not revealing an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis was the fear of causing emotional distress. This despite the fact that other studies done on the subject found that after a diagnosis, few patients experience long-term emotional problems or become depressed.
The right care can make the difference
Given that there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease, it is important that sufferers not only get the correct diagnosis in time to get their affairs in order while still coherent, but they also have the ability to find a place to live that can cater to their shifting needs.
Having the right type of professional staff available, a staff that knows how to work with people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, can make all the difference – both for the patient and for their loved ones. If you or someone that you care about has received an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis, we highly recommend that you start looking into potential options at www.carltonseniorliving.com. That way, you will know that the future is well taken care of and in good hands.