Part II – My parent received an Alzheimer’s diagnosis… Now what…

Dr. David Ross

QUESTION: My parent just received a probable diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. What are the most important things our family should do?


Last month, I began my response to this very important question. This article continues the answer. I mentioned that I would offer condition-specific answers, but first I need to introduce a framework to organize that answer.I have studied medicine for the past 30 years and have seen over 30,00p patients. I have realized that many of the things I was taught and that I thought I knew proved ultimately to be inaccurate or incorrect. The lesson is that the specifics are continually evolving or changed; the principles tend to remain stable and enduring. I will therefore construct my framework based on certain principles and then make the specific recommendations. The first principle follows. DEMENTIA is a condition affecting cognition [i.e., thinking].

Its main attributes are problems with memory and executive decision making, often associated with problems with language, recognition, and simple tasks. It is essential that all these problems are evaluated in the context of observing an individual’s behaviors. Currently, there are no medical tests that definitely establish a diagnosis of dementia or measure its severity. As a goal, patients and their families want to maintain cognitive and behavioral skills at their optimum. Read more here!