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Living with Alzheimer's disease

After diagnosis

An Alzheimer’s diagnosis is life changing. There is no cure for Alzheimer's right now. But studies show there are ways to improve the life of someone with the disease.

These include:

  • Taking medicine, if a doctor says to
  • Understanding how the disease works
  • Staying healthy. A person may have other diseases plus Alzheimer’s. It's important to take care of those, too
  • Making sure caregivers are helping. The caregiver(s) and doctors should talk to each other often. This is to make sure everyone knows the same things
  • Doing things for fun. It's important that a person with Alzheimer's enjoys their life
  • Planning for the future

Alzheimer's is not the same for everyone. Patients over age 65 live an average of 4 to 8 years. Some people have lived as long as 20 years with Alzheimer's.

Some people may be able to live at home after being diagnosed. This depends on what stage they are in. As Alzheimer's gets worse, living at home might not be possible anymore.

At age 80, about 75% of people with Alzheimer's disease usually live in a nursing home or assisted living facility.

An Alzheimer’s diagnosis has a huge impact on families and caregivers. It is thought to be the 6th most burdensome, or demanding, disease in the United States. As the disease gets worse, patients usually need full time care.

A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is life changing, both for the person diagnosed and for their family, loved ones, and/or caregivers. While there is no cure yet, studies show there are ways to have a positive impact on quality of life.

Managing the disease includes:

  • Taking certain prescription medications
  • Understanding how Alzheimer's works so you know what to expect
  • Managing other diseases and maintaining a healthy lifestyle
  • Ensuring caregivers are involved and in contact with the healthcare team
  • Continuing to live a fulfilling and meaningful life
  • Planning for the future

Prognosis for Alzheimer’s can vary. People with Alzheimer's who are over the age of 65 live an average of 4 to 8 years, but some live as long as 20 years.

Depending on the stage at diagnosis, patients may be able to continue living at home until the disease progresses.

At age 80, about 75% of people living with Alzheimer’s disease are expected to live in a nursing home or assisted living facility.

An Alzheimer’s diagnosis has a huge impact on families and caregivers. Alzheimer's is considered the 6th most burdensome disease in the United States. This is because as the disease progresses, patients typically require round-the-clock care.

A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is a life-changing experience for you and your family. While there is currently no cure, research indicates that like other diseases, being proactive can assist with disease management and have a positive impact on quality of life.

Managing the disease includes:

  • Using any medications and treatments as prescribed by your doctor
  • Understanding the course of the disease so you know what to anticipate
  • Managing comorbidities (other conditions that occur)
  • Ensuring caregiver involvement and communication between caregivers and the healthcare team
  • Continuing to live a fulfilling and meaningful life
  • Planning for the future

Prognosis for Alzheimer’s can vary, and the average survival rate for patients over age 65 is 4 to 8 years. For some, the survival rate can be as high as 20 years.

Depending on the stage at diagnosis, patients may continue residing at home until disease progression.

At age 80, approximately 75% of people living with Alzheimer’s disease are expected to live in a nursing home or assisted-living facility.

An Alzheimer’s diagnosis has a huge impact on families and caregivers, and it is considered the 6th most burdensome disease in the United States. This is because as the disease progresses, patients typically require round-the-clock care from a nurse or other healthcare practitioner.

NEXT: Treatment

References: 1. Alzheimer's facts and figures 2019. 2. Life after diagnosis. Alzheimer's Association. https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/diagnosis/life-after-diagnosis. Accessed September 25, 2019. 3. Just diagnosed. Alzheimer's Association. https://www.alz.org/help-support/i-have-alz/know-what-to-expect/just-diagnosed. Accessed September 25, 2019.