You sat in the doctor’s office. You heard the words. Alzheimer’s Disease. In many ways, you aren’t surprised. But that little corner of your mind that was hoping for a different verdict feels like Hiroshima on the day after.
The doctor hands over a prescription for Aricept (donepazil) and says to come back in three months. Pay the copay, and you’re out of there.
You have just been dropped in the middle of the ocean with a two-person raft and warm best wishes for finding your way to shore.
The above scenario now takes place every 66 seconds in the United States alone. Many clinicians do a bit better with cushioning the blow and providing resources to start the journey. The vast majority do not. The public deserves better.
In his poignant memoir, While I Still Can, activist Rick Phelps describes the doctor visit in which he and his wife received his diagnosis. He noted the time frame. Seventeen minutes is all it took.
Seventeen minutes from the time of entering the doctor’s office to the time they were ushered out the door with a prescription and a return appointment. I would hate to have been on the two-hour ride home.
Alzheimer’s and related dementias (ADRD) are fast overtaking cancer as the most dreaded diagnoses among consumers. (Go here to learn the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease). When patients and families are reeling from the news, they deserve immediate support in knowing which way to turn next.
The Dementia Nurse was borne out of the public’s need to find reliable information and advice. As the epidemic grows and the snake oil salesmen emerge, I am committed to doing my part to guard and to guide.
Nurses have long been the consumer’s best friend when it comes to navigating health care. It is my fervent hope that The Dementia Nurse will give you hope and confidence on the long ride of dementia.
My secondary passion is for the precious individuals who provide dementia care for a living. The Dementia Nurse is designed to be a resource for them as well as for unpaid care partners. A loving professional care partner is worth his or her weight in gold and deserves all the encouragement possible.
Many thanks to you for stopping by. Feel free to say hi and tell me who or what brings you to my doorstep today. With all good intentions,