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Coping With The Stages of Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Posted Oct 05 2010 9:21pm

You know, I’m a bit embarrassed to admit it. When the doctor told me that my Dad had mild dementia, I had no idea what she meant.

Yes, I was aware that he was having memory issues. He would often stop mid-sentence to grasp for a common word. But that was a normal part of aging, right?

Steps and Stages from Caring.com

No, it’s not.

But, I’m not alone in being confused about this.

The staff of Caring.com recently completed a  survey of more than 1,100 caregivers. Sixty-one percent of people caring for aging parents and other loved ones with Alzheimer’s say that the actual diagnosis came one or more years after initial symptoms appeared. And,  nearly half of caregivers say that, once the patient was diagnosed, they were still unsure what stage of Alzheimer’s disease their loved one was in.

So with the guidance of medical experts, Caring.com has created a new interactive guide, support system, and customized e-mail newsletter that delivers specific, stage-appropriate advice for those providing care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.

I had an opportunity to take a tour and was very impressed!

Rather than throw a full resource manual at you, the new guide allows you to fill in the symptoms you see right now. Then, you receive just the information for coping with what is happening in your loved one’s life as you need it.

You can always add a new symptom when you see one. The guide will let you know what stage of Alzheimer’s you are seeing and offer tips on dealing with the behavior.

The support system puts you in a forum with others caring for someone at the same stage. If you have been part of discussions on other websites, you may already have experienced the difficulty in trying to talk with someone who is coping with a different stage of the disease. You can’t help because you haven’t dealt with the issue. The forums are moderated and experts pop in from time to time to answer difficult questions.

By the way, the other information about senior health and living challenges has not disappeared from Caring.com. You can always click on the tabs at the top of  the screen to access this information.  To get back to your dashboard, just click on the green button at the top of the page.

If you are a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s or other dementia, please check out Caring.com and tell me what you think.

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