The Impact of Alzheimer’s Disease

Many, but not all, people facing the onset of Alzheimer’s are aware that something is wrong. The diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s can come as somewhat of a relief, as they now know what is causing the problem. Alzheimer’s affects people in different ways and each person will find their own approach to managing with the changes which occur.

There are some good reasons to tell the person with dementia about the diagnosis: Early intervention can enhance quality of life. Knowing about the condition can allow for planning for the future. Access to information, support and new treatments are helped when the person knows about their condition. Knowing about the condition allows for an honest and open discussion of the experience of dementia between family and friends.

Being diagnosed with dementia means that there are a number of matters to consider in planning for the future. If you are still working you will need to consider how dementia affects your working life and start thinking about future changes which may be needed. You may have already noticed the effects of dementia on your work. Some of the changes might include:

  • Difficulty communicating your thoughts to colleagues or clients
  • Trouble concentrating for as long as you used to
  • Forgetting important meetings or appointments
  • Difficulty managing several tasks on the go at one time
  • Having problems with larger groups and possibly preferring to work alone
  • Losing confidence in your work abilities
  • Feeling uncertain about making important decisions

If you are having problems at work they are quite likely a result of the changes of dementia. The changes are not something you have control of, but you can take control of how you manage the situation. Sometimes simple strategies or changes in the environment can help you at work.

Some people initially renegotiate their working hours and duties to reduce workplace pressures. Like anyone with a serious illness you are entitled to special consideration in the workplace. The key to making employment decisions is to take early control, plan and be realistic and try to keep things in perspective. Sometimes simple strategies or changes in the environment can help you at work.

From the start, you should seek guidance and support. Apart from your family and trusted friends, this support can come from

  • Your doctor or medical specialist
  • Your trade union or professional body
  • An Alzheimers Association in your area
  • Legal and financial advisors
  • A counselor
  • Anti-discrimination advocates

These people can help you think things through, and support you to make decisions needed for the future.