Why to Get Diagnosed for Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia as Early as Possible

“I want to be able to make decisions about my life and the future that I will be facing, while I am still able to make those decisions.”

People are split between wanting to know about their failing brain health and simply not knowing out of fear of what is to come. As humanity progresses into a more self aware and technology driven being, we tend to accept our futures and are interested in discovering more about ourselves. Today we continue our discussion from Ideasteams, “The Sound of Ideas,” as we dive into the pros and cons of getting a diagnosis regarding cognitive decline and memory loss.

Memory problem, memory loss, cognitive test

Strategize Your Future

Mike McIntyre :

It really is a coming storm, with Alzheimer’s, and that is because baby boomers are ageing. We mentioned there are some younger cases and the movie that we talked about [Still Alice] depicted a younger case, but most of these cases are people who are elderly and more and more baby boomers are going to become that. What are we looking at numbers wise and how are we preparing?

Nancy Udelson :

Well right now Alzheimer’s is actually the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and there are currently about 5 million people, in the United States, with the disease and by 2050 we are looking at possibly 16 million people. Now I say estimated because there isn’t a registry for it and as we said so many people are not diagnosed that we don’t know the exact numbers but the cost of this disease personally and to families as well as the government is absolutely staggering (multi-billion).

Mike McIntyre :

Lets have Bob in Garfield Heights join our call… Bob welcome to the program.

Caller “Bob” :

I just wanted to add a comment about the seriousness of this disease. People are in denial of it when they find out about it. Our sister in law, just yesterday, only 58 years old we found her in the backyard dead because she had wandered out of her house, fallen, and couldn’t get up. All I am saying is what the doctors are saying is very true. You have to be so on top of this disease because you don’t want to believe that is happening to someone you love but if you get that diagnosis you need to move quickly with it because you need to ensure their safety and that’s just the comment that I wanted to make. You need to take this so seriously because horrible things happen because of it.

Mike McIntyre :

Bob I am so sorry.

Caller “Bob” :

Thank you, this topic this morning couldn’t have been more timely. I just wanted to say thank you and I just wanted to stress how important it is to really pay attention to it.

Mike McIntyre :

And how important your call is as well. Nancy, about that an idea making sure you are taking this seriously not something you can blow off. 58 year old woman, here’s the outcome, totally tragic outcome but the idea, and in one sense there are a lot of people saying you need early diagnosis and as I just said there isn’t a cure so what’s it matter that there is early diagnosis and I wonder what the answer to that is.

Nancy Udelson :

That’s a really good question, some people don’t want the diagnosis. There is no question about it because they are fearful of it. Many more people today I think are very brave and what they are saying is “I want to be able to make decisions about my life and the future that I will be facing while I am able to make those decisions.” So whether it is individually or their family or their care partner or spouse to be able to make legal decisions and financial decisions and in some cases it could be to do something’s that you have always wanted to do and you put them off. It isn’t easy but I think we hear more and more people that are saying I am so glad I got the diagnosis because I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I think Cheryl can address too some of the emotions and the changes people feel with this diagnosis.

Cheryl Kanetsky :

Definitely the coming to understand that there is still so much life that can be lived even with the diagnosis but planning and preparing for the future is a big part of why to get diagnosed as early as possible so that legal and financial preparations can be made while it is still possible to be making them. To help adjust and deal with the feeling and emotions that come along with it. Many of the programs that we provide help the person who has been newly diagnosed understand what this means to their life and to their family and to their relationships.

Feel free to listen to the entire radio show HERE Younger-Onset Alzheimer’s.

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