If you or a loved one has an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, you will want to get some important information from your physician. Your first appointment may be with a primary care physician who oversaw your initial evaluation, or with a specialist recommended to you.
Your First Doctor's Appointment
When someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, the experience can be traumatizing. By taking an active role in your own health care, you and your caregivers can be more empowered in identifying your needs, gathering information, and making the decisions that are right for you.
We have a fact sheet (PDF), Alzheimer’s Diagnosis: Questions to Ask Your Doctor, which you can take to your first doctor's appointment. You can print it from our website, or get the free pocket-card size by calling us at 855-345-6237.
What to Bring to Your First Appointment
Before you go to the physician’s office, prepare certain items to bring to your appointment:
- The doctor’s name and contact information
- A list of your medications and supplements, both over-the-counter and prescription. (If it’s easier, bring the pill containers with you.)
- A notepad to write down the doctor’s answers
- A friend or relative to accompany you, if possible. This person can help take notes or confirm what was discussed.
Ask Your Doctor About Your Care
Some of your first questions can be directed to the doctor’s qualifications and how he or she plans to monitor your condition and care for you over time.
You should ask questions such as:
- How much experience do you have in treating people with Alzheimer’s disease?
- Will you be my main doctor throughout my illness?
- Will you be testing my mental condition at regular intervals?
You may have questions about your symptoms and the disease itself:
- Have tests ruled out the possibility that this is normal aging?
- Is it possible the medications I’m on could be making my symptoms worse?
- What stage of Alzheimer’s disease am I in now, and what changes can I expect as my disease progresses?
- What treatments or activities are available to slow the progression of the disease?
You also may have questions about resources for the patient or caregivers:
- What services and support organizations for Alzheimer’s disease are in the area?
- Are there any Alzheimer’s disease clinical trials I might qualify for?
Clinical Trials: Empowering You, Helping Others
Across the nation, researchers are looking for participants in human clinical trials of potential treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. Older persons, in particular, are in high demand, but you do not have to have the disease to participate.
Many people with Alzheimer’s feel more in control and empowered by participating in clinical research trial, because they are contributing to the discoveries and medical care for future generations.
Want to learn more? Ask your doctor or visit:
- The Antidote database on our website and enter "Alzheimer's" in the search field
- The Clinical Trials section on our website
- The National Institutes of Health study database at www.clinicaltrials.gov and enter “Alzheimer’s” in the search field
- The Joint Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and National Institute on Aging (NIA) database at www.nia.nih.gov/Alzheimers/clinical-trials