If you have a parent with Alzheimer’s, you aren’t alone. Over five million Americans have this disorder, and that number could grow even more Baby Boomers enter retirement age.
Finding out that you have a parent with Alzheimer’s can cause a variety of emotions. You may feel angry or scared, or you could be feeling sad.
Regardless of what you experience, prepare to be your parent’s advocate.
It’s only natural to have Alzheimer’s questions, but you need to make sure that you’re asking the right questions when discussing with the doctor.
Alzheimer’s Questions Everyone Should Ask
When you’re speaking with your parent’s doctors, remember that there are no wrong questions to ask.
If you’re unsure about anything or want a second opinion, don’t hesitate to reach out to medical professionals.
There may not be a wrong question to ask, but there are critical ones you should get an answer to.
1. How Will Alzheimer’s Affect My Parent’s Health?
Your parents may have pre-existing conditions. It’s also possible that they may develop other health problems as Alzheimer’s progresses.
It’s always important to ask doctors about how treatments and the disease itself can affect your parent’s overall health.
He should already have access to information about your parent’s medical history, but it’s always a good idea to mention existing health problems you’re aware of.
2. What Stage Oof Alzheimer’s Is My Parent at?
This disease may trigger different problems and cause people to exhibit different symptoms depending on what stage the patient is at.
Alzheimer’s is a complicated ailment that progresses from mild to moderate and severe.
Doctors may find that your parent is in the very beginning stages and currently doesn’t experience memory impairment. They may be in moderate stages and only experience mild memory problems, or it could be severe.
These stages can overlap and affect each patient differently. There are various treatment options and techniques for each stage, so ask where the doctor currently thinks your parent is at.
3. What Will The Next Stages Be Like?
It’s important to know what stage of Alzheimer’s your parent is at, but it’s equally important to understand what’s ahead.
When you’re discussing the next stages to expect, ask doctors about what signs you should look for. When your parent goes from being forgetful to being unable to do arithmetic, it could be a sign that their disease is progressing.
Alzheimer’s can progress at different rates. For some, it progresses very slowly. For others, it can be a rapid decline.
Your doctor can give you an idea of what the next few months or years with your parent will look like.
4. What Treatments Are Available?
Alzheimer’s can be treated in a variety of ways, so the doctor will recommend medications based on your parent’s individual needs.
He may prescribe medications that help slow mental decline. Other drugs can treat symptoms of dementia, or relieve depression or anxiety.
Physical therapy and moderate exercise may also be a part of your parent’s treatment plan. It’s important to for patients to stay active as it could help slow their decline.
Their doctor may also recommend a special diet for your parent to help their treatment.
5. Do You Recommend Participation in Clinical Trials?
There are new drugs available for testing for nearly every medical problem. These aren’t widely available on the market, so ask about them.
Clinical testing could potentially help your parent and others. Some experimental treatments may help reverse some of the symptoms your parent has.
It’s important to always consult your parent’s doctors before getting involved in any clinical trials. They may not want to introduce new things into your parent’s treatment plans, or may even know of a different trial they’d like your parent to try.
6. Should I Speak with a Specialist?
Alzheimer’s is a complex disease. It could affect other pre-existing health conditions, or cause new problems for your parent.
Depending on your parent’s current state of health, your doctor may recommend that they see a specialist. They may want them to see a psychiatrist, a neurologist, or a different specialist to treat their pre-existing conditions.
Remember that there’s nothing wrong with asking for a second opinion. You can take your parent to see other doctors if you feel that you need additional help, or aren’t getting helpful answers from their current doctor.
7. Where Can I Get Caregiver Training and Support?
Even if you’re a medical professional with caregiving experience, it’s always a good idea to get additional training. Caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s will be different from any other caregiving you’ve done in the past.
Your parent’s doctor may be able to recommend caregiving classes you can take. If they don’t know any, contact your local hospital or elder care facility and see if they offer classes.
Remember that caring for your parent may be stressful at times. It can be a good idea for you to get emotional and mental support from others.
Ask about support groups for adults who care for their parents with Alzheimer’s. Consider making an appointment to speak with a therapist regularly if you start to feel stressed or overwhelmed.
Now that you know the important Alzheimer’s questions to ask, it’s time to think about other ways you can help your parent.
Read our post on creating a dementia care plan for your loved one. It can help you learn how to better communicate with and care for your those in need.
And remember, we’re here for you. Be sure to contact us today so we can answer questions you may have.