This question is asked often when people identify memory concerns. People may put off or avoid seeking out further testing for a variety of reasons. Whether this avoidance is out of fear, nervousness, anxiousness, or other reasons, there are many benefits of to getting an early diagnosis.
It may not be permanent
If someone is having concerns with memory or cognition, one of the main reasons to get further testing is to find out if it’s reversible. Many things can make us feel foggy, confused, or mimic the symptoms of dementia. These can include vitamin deficiencies, infections, depression, medication interaction or side effects, and more. For your peace of mind (and that of your loved ones), it may be helpful to put a name to or find the root cause of the issues.
Do you know whom you want to make decisions for you when you are no longer able? How would you like your savings prioritized? How will you pay for care later in life? Would you be okay with living in an Assisted Living facility? These are questions we tend to push to the side until something startling or drastic happens. Planning by making and writing down answers to these difficult decisions now can save us (and our family) stress and worry in the future.
Help your family
Early diagnosis can also help your family and friends. It gives them the opportunity to become more educated about the disease and what to expect. It will also give you, your family, and friends the opportunity to maximize your time together. Have the difficult conversations about safety issues like driving and wandering ahead of time—you can let them know your exact thoughts on how you would like these situations handled when challenges arise.
Use what is available to you
Another benefit of early diagnosis is a broader knowledge of community resources available to those with dementia and their caregivers. There are specific programs for those in the early stages and support for caregivers in all stages of the disease. These programs can help both you and your loved ones learn tips and strategies on how to better manage symptoms and expectations.
There are many benefits of seeking further testing if you or your loved ones are concerned about memory and cognition. Planning for the future and being able to make your wishes and wants known can give you (and your family) peace of mind and be more prepared for the future.