November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and we are always happy to join the efforts of professionals and experts serving those living with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. Thanks to more and more awareness, some adults are being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease sooner than in prior years, but there is still much work to be done in this capacity. Unfortunately, stigma around the disease still exists, there are Medicare limitations on the number of PET scans allowed for payment, and requirements to enroll in registries can prevent access to earlier diagnosis and innovative treatments. More work is needed in this space to allow individuals to get faster treatment, boost their quality of life, make future plans, and advocate for their wishes.
At CaringGivers, we are honored to care for many clients living with dementia. Every day, we are learning new ways to connect with our clients living with cognitive decline and are building our intervention toolbox to include more personalized approaches.
For family members, friends, and community members, it can be challenging to learn about Alzheimer’s disease. Unfortunately, there are many myths surrounding the condition that have been passed from one person to the next, leading to some misinformation that can make a diagnosis even more confusing or worrisome.
Myth #1: All Dementia is Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is one type of dementia, and while it is the most common type, there are many other types of dementia beyond Alzheimer’s disease. Other types of dementia include vascular dementia, Lewy Body Disease, frontotemporal dementia, alcohol-related dementia, and more. If your loved one has a diagnosis of dementia, narrow down your information based on their particular type, as each is unique.
Myth #2: Everyone with Alzheimer’s Disease Lives in a Nursing Home
While it is true that Alzheimer’s disease is progressive and can make living alone safely nearly impossible, not everyone with the condition lives in skilled nursing. In fact, not everyone with Alzheimer’s disease lives in senior living communities in general. Thanks to more support available in the home, people living with Alzheimer’s disease can remain at home safely and comfortably with the right assistance.
Myth #3: People Living with Alzheimer’s Disease All Progress the Same Way
Alzheimer’s disease is progressive, and it does have certain hallmarks in each stage of the disease. However, if your loved one has Alzheimer’s disease, you can’t expect them to be the same as your friend’s loved one who has the condition as well. Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease vary from person to person, stage to stage, and even week to week. The key to interacting with your loved one is to meet them where they are at during that moment, not to anticipate what is coming next based on someone else’s journey.
Myth #4: Caregiver Support Groups Are Only for Partners
While a partner of someone living with Alzheimer’s disease certainly benefits from attending a caregiver support group, family members are always welcome to attend as well. Caregiver support groups are not only places to share frustrations and gain encouragement, but many also include an educational portion that highlights local services and resources. There are even support groups for those living in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, which have been shown to be quite helpful for the older adult.
Myth #5: I Can Find Out Any Information About Alzheimer’s Disease on the Internet
You’re reading this information on the internet and there are lots of other spaces on the web where you can gain information about dementia. However, not all sources on the internet are created equal. Ensure you are looking for information from reputable sources like the Alzheimer’s Association, Mayo Clinic, or senior service agencies like home care organizations or senior living communities.
If you are looking for support for your loved one, we are here to help. Our caregivers are experienced with working with adults living with dementia and our entire team is here to support your entire family. Call us to set up your consultation.