A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia is life changing and raises a lot of questions and emotions. It can leave a person feeling isolated and unsure of where to turn for information and support.
The Alzheimer’s Association has created a robust, on-line resource, “I Have Alzheimer’s”—available at www.alz.org—for empowering those living in the early stage of the disease. The site offers LiveWell resources meant to help individuals move past feelings of isolation and on to planning, preparing, receiving support, and living their best life after diagnosis.
Currently in Montana, 20,000 people live with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia, and an estimated 5.5 million across the country. It is not uncommon for these individuals to feel disconnected, isolated or abandoned by others.
Denial and fear of what will happen as the disease progresses can prevent many individuals from seeking or facing their diagnosis. As a result, they often delay in planning for the future or accessing potential treatments. They may miss out on resources and support services that can help them live a positive and fulfilling life in the early stages of dimentia.
“LiveWell resources and activities help those living in the early stage confront disease-related challenges by providing personal insights and strategies on how to live a quality life with dementia for as long as possible,” said Monica Moreno, director, early-stage initiatives, Alzheimer’s Association.
“We hope that by hearing from others living with the disease, users will begin to embrace the notion that there is life after a diagnosis and use the LiveWell tools to gain a sense of control over their lives.”
The LiveWell series includes interactive activities that allow users to enter customized responses and generate personalized summaries detailing the steps they can take to live well.
Life After Diagnosis.
The adjustment to a “new normal” after the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or another dementia is often a period with difficult emotions and uncertainty about the future. This tool contains video reflection from individuals living in the early stage who recount the emotions they experienced after receiving their diagnosis and the process they went through to accept it.
You Are More Than Your Diagnosis
A diagnosis and the accompanying losses may impact how individuals see themselves. This activity contains encourages individuals to explore unique aspects of their identity. A personalized word cloud is generated from their responses, which they can download and share the image of the word cloud.
Understanding how to live a healthy and balanced life is often a challenge for individuals in the early stage of the disease. This resource helps individuals choose how to live well in their daily lives. Individuals receive a personalized plan they can share with others, to start conversations about how they would like to approach living a healthy and balanced life.
Maximize Your Independence
Living with dementia may present daily challenges that cause a person to focus on their losses rather than their strengths and the available support. This activity encourages individuals to use strategies for living a quality life and identify how others may be able to help them with day-to-day activities.
Live in the Moment
It can be difficult to remain positive when facing the daily challenges of dementia. This tool contains videos featuring individuals living with dementia who share their perspectives on how the diagnosis changed their outlook on life and taught them the importance of living in the moment.
“These resources address important issues that can help individuals living in the early stage of the disease identify what’s important and how they can move forward,” Moreno said. “We encourage individuals living with the disease to use these resources, to begin conversations with their care partners about how they can live as well as possible for as long as possible.”
The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. For more information, visit the Alzheimer’s Association website or call the 24/7 helpline at 800-272-3900.