Just Diagnosed with Alzheimer's? Questions to Ask Your Doctor
Last updated: April 2022
While an Alzheimer's diagnosis can be overwhelming, taking control of your care or the care of your loved one is crucial. The things you do now can make a big difference in the quality of life down the line. Asking your doctor the right questions when you receive an Alzheimer's diagnosis sets you up for a better understanding of your situation and options.
Knowledge is power
Most people begin their Alzheimer's journey with very little information. Asking the right questions, however, will help you understand the disease and better prepare you for what lies ahead.
Before speaking with a doctor, your best bet is to do some research and read as much as you can about Alzheimer's disease. This crucial first step will arm you with the knowledge needed to ask the right questions when that first appointment rolls around.
Alzheimer's questions for the doctor
To help you get started, here are some essential questions that both patients and their caregivers can ask following an Alzheimer's diagnosis.
Questions to ask your doctor about your Alzheimer's diagnosis
- How are we sure this is Alzheimer's disease?
- What does this diagnosis mean?
- How does the disease progress?
- What kind of changes should I expect?
- How long can I expect to function normally?
- What type of medicine will I be taking?
- What are the potential side effects of these medicines?
- Besides medicine, are there other treatment options?
- How long does it take before my symptoms get worse?
- Will this impact my overall health?
- Are there any alternative therapies?
Questions to ask when a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer's
- Now that we have a diagnosis, what should our next steps be?
- Is living at home still an option, and for how long?
- Can my loved one be a danger to themselves or others?
- What type of care does my loved one need now and in the long term?
- How will we know if the medicines are working?2
- Are there any resources you can recommend to help guide us through this?
- Does my health history, family background, and/or lifestyle put me at risk?
- Would mental and physical exercise help support my loved one's brain health and memory?
- Is my loved one's cognition going to be reassessed periodically?
- Is it safe for them to drive?
- What are some positive signs we can look out for?
Informed on the future
As a patient, it is important to make the most of your conversations with your doctor. And as a caregiver, it is equally important to speak with your loved one's doctors so that everyone knows what to expect as the disease progresses. Immediately following a diagnosis, you will likely have plenty of questions, and your doctor is a great person to answer them.
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