Importance of early diagnosis

You may have been wondering what is happening to you and have been worried and anxious about the changes you have noticed. Although being diagnosed with dementia can be an upsetting experience, it can also be a relief because knowing the causes of your problems can resolve the anxiety felt by both you and your family.

"I was diagnosed as having the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. While this was a terrible blow to both myself and my wife, we were glad to have been told so that we could discuss the possible effects on our lives and plan how we could adjust to the situation". George Brown, UK.

Receiving a timely diagnosis of dementia will enable you to:

  • Gain access to information, resources and support
  • Demystify and destigmatise your condition
  • Maximise your quality of life
  • Benefit from treatments
  • Plan for the future
  • Explain to your family, friends and colleagues what has changed in your life

On a practical level there is a lot that can be done:

  • You may wish to review your financial situation. This might include arranging for bills to be paid.
  • If you are still at work, you could think about reducing your hours or switching to another job.
  • Check on any state or social support that you or your family may be entitled to.
  • It may be useful to start making enquiries about what support services are available in your area.
  • It is advisable to check with your insurance company to see whether you are still covered for driving.
  • You may wish to participate in an early stage support group and form new peer relationships to share feelings, information and coping strategies.

Contact the Alzheimer association in your country for more information, advice and help.

ADI has published a report on the benefits of early diagnosis and intervention.