Over half of Alzheimer’s patients are never told of the diagnosis
Think about going to the doctor with numerous symptoms of forgetfulness, mood swings, confusion, and depression, but leaving without a clear explanation or diagnosis of what is going on.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 55% of patients with Alzheimer’s & Dementia are never told of their diagnosis – neither are their families or caregivers.
This is staggering, considering that 9 out of 10 patients with cancer were told the diagnosis from their doctor.
For doctors it is difficult – difficult to relay bad news, difficult to pass along the potential pain that an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can cause, and it often times stems from a well-meaning desire to protect the patient and their family.
But withholding information from patients and families takes away the opportunity to prepare for the road before them. It can cause angst and worry for what the symptoms mean, and can often leave them feeling powerless in a growing haze around the life of their loved one. Treatment options are never explored, and the aggregate effects on the search for solutions to this devastating disease are hindered in compounded fashion as over half of the data does not exist.
As a society with increasing numbers of seniors, we must strive to continue the heightening of awareness for all those involved – the medical community, senior care workers, families, and individuals.
Just as the stigma for the “C” word was overcome, and we have since made great advances in cancer diagnostics & treatment, as well as mental, social, & emotional preparations for patients and families, we must overcome the stigma and well-intentioned ignorance for Alzheimer’s and dementia for continued furtherance of medical advancement, increased social support, and ultimately to better serve the ones we love.