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Planning in the face of uncertainty

The diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, such as frontotemporal, Lewy body, or vascular dementia, comes as a shock. Amid sadness and despair are the inevitable questions: What does the future hold? What do we do now? Every case is unique. But common to all affected by dementia is the need to maintain physical health and strive for quality of life. 

Living well in the face of dementia 

Alzheimer’s disease demands changes in the way family and friends interact with a loved one, in taking advantage of tools such as music therapy and cognitive fitness routines to improve quality of life, and in recognizing and celebrating the essence that still remains. Just as important is self-care for the caregiver, to build the resiliency we need to sustain us through this journey. 

Challenges to dementia caregivers

With disease progression, Alzheimer’s and other dementias continue to challenge friends and family with new behaviors that are ever more difficult to manage. A combination of compassion and analytical prowess is necessary to ride the waves of more challenging symptoms as they evolve. Just as important, caregivers must recognize processes within themselves that can get in the way. 

Our community. Our support. 

The symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias can draw very different responses from the people around us. Underlying the stigma are fear (as though the disease were infectious), confusion, ignorance, or just the practical difficulties of conversation, meals, and simply moving around. Recognizing that some—in fact most—of our family and friends want to engage and help, to the best of their ability, is a starting point.