Once a year, encourage your relative to see the doctor for an “Annual Wellness Visit.” The purpose of this free exam is to catch emerging health problems early on.
Identifying changes in thinking or memory is a primary reason for the visit. If the doctor detects problems, your relative will receive further tests.
Screening for memory loss is invaluable. It can help
- rule out conditions that look like Alzheimer's, but are not. It may be your loved one's memory problems can be resolved;
- introduce treatments if needed. With many conditions, early treatment can slow the progress of the disease. It can also improve daily life and independence;
- provide access to support services;
- reduce difficult behaviors common with memory loss;
- rally family members to action;
- prioritize time for your loved one to make important decisions about the future; Perhaps go on that trip she's been thinking about. Or finish up a trust or advance directive;
- support creation of a care plan that maintains quality of life.