Now What? Next Steps After an Alzheimer’s Diagnosis
Being informed will help you know what to expect as the disease progresses. Here are some resources:
- Alzheimer’s and related Dementias Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center: 1-800-438-4380
- Alzheimer’s Association: 1-800-272-3900
- Alzheimer’s Foundation of America: 1-866-232-8484
- Local hospitals: May have educational programs about Alzheimer’s disease/dementia
Get regular medical care
- Make regular appointments with your primary care doctor or specialist (neurologist, neuropsychiatrist, geriatric psychiatrist).
- Consider going to a specialized memory disorders clinic. Ask your doctor for a referral if desired.
Find local services and support
- Find local services by contacting Eldercare Locator: 1-800-677-1116
- Find your local Alzheimer’s organization, such as an Alzheimer’s Association chapter: 1-800-272-3900
- Find local member organizations and providers affiliated with the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America: 1-866-232-8484
- Contact relevant local healthcare and social service agencies
Do some legal, financial, and long-term care planning
- Get information to help you plan.
- Prepare or update your will, living will, healthcare power of attorney, and financial power of attorney. To find a lawyer, contact your local bar association or the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
- Learn about care you may need in the future and how to pay for it.
- Explore getting help to pay for medicines, housing, transportation, and more. Visit the National Council on Aging.
Get help as needed with day-to-day tasks
- Use simple memory aids like a notepad or sticky notes to jot down reminders, a pillbox to keep medications organized, and a calendar to record appointments.
- Ask family members or friends or find local services to help with routine tasks, such as cooking, paying bills, transportation, or shopping.
- Consider using technology solutions for medication management, safety (e.g., emergency response, door alarms), and other care.
- See tips about coping daily, sharing your diagnosis, changes in relationships, and more.
Be safe at home
- Get home-safety tips.
- Ask your doctor to order a home-safety evaluation and recommend a home health care agency to conduct it. Medicare may cover the cost.
- Consider joining the MedicAlert® + Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 Wandering Support program.
Stay safe on the road
- Talk with your doctor if you become confused, get lost, or need lots of help with directions, or if others worry about your driving.
- Get a driving evaluation. Ask your doctor for names of driving evaluators, or visit the American Occupational Therapy Association.
- Learn about driving safety.
Consider participating in a clinical trial
- Ask your doctor about trials or studies at local medical centers or universities.
- Contact an Alzheimer’s Disease Center for assessment and potential research opportunities.
- Search for a clinical trial or study near you:
- Learn more about clinical trials:
- Be active! Getting exercise helps people with Alzheimer’s feel better and helps keep their muscles, joints, and heart in good shape.
- Eat a well-balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain products.
- Continue to enjoy visits with family and friends, hobbies, and outings.
If you live alone
- Identify someone who can visit you regularly and be an emergency contact.
- If you are at risk of falling, order an emergency response system. A special pendant or bracelet lets you summon help if you fall and can’t reach the phone.
- Consider working with an occupational therapist. This person can teach you ways to stay independent. Ask your doctor for more information.
- Get tips about self-care, preventing falls, staying connected, and more.
- Stick with familiar places, people, and routines. Simplify your life.
If you are working
- If you have problems performing your job, consider reducing your hours or switching to a less demanding position.
- Consult your employer’s HR department or employee assistance program about family leave, disability benefits, and other employee benefits.