Living with Alzheimer’s

Receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), whether personally or regarding a loved one, can be life-changing.1 Initial reactions to the news can include anger, fear, denial, and a host of uncertainties.1

Symptoms of AD often start with memory loss and slowly progress to include confusion and loss of judgment, trouble with multistep tasks, communication issues, mood changes, and finally the ability to live independently.2,3 Discussing treatment options with a medical care team can help provide the resources and support needed to cope with the diagnosis.1 Alzheimer’s support groups are another source of advice and encouragement and help maintain social connections to decrease feelings of isolation that may accompany an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis.1

In the US, 80% of people with AD receive in home care from friends and family members, adding up to an estimated 16 million caretakers.2 Both caregivers and their loved ones need to establish ways of dealing with the challenges of daily living.1,2 This can be done by creating realistic goals and understanding that these will likely change over time as the disease progresses.4 For example, leaving notes or reminders for important tasks. Alzheimer’s support groups for both patients and caregivers are another way to help ease the challenges that come with this diagnosis.

Long-term planning is another important aspect of living with AD. Discussing legal issues, financial planning, and end-of-life care with all involved parties are vital to alleviating the stress and uncertainty that patients inevitable experience as mental and physical functions deteriorate.4

Caregivers of people with AD are more likely to provide general care or in home care for at least 4 years compared to those with other medical illnesses.2 This can affect a caregiver’s ability to take care of themselves, putting them at greater risk for anxiety, depression, and poorer quality of life.2 For this reason, people with AD and their caregivers both benefit from stress management techniques. Staying active, joining Alzheimer’s support groups, performing meditation and breathing exercises, keeping a diary or journal, and engaging in music or art are all examples of ways to mitigate the stress that comes with a chronic illness and the responsibility of caring for a loved one.5


  1. Alzheimer’s Association®. Just Diagnosed.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Caregiving for a Person with Alzheimer’s Disease or a Related Dementia.
  3. Kumar A, Sidhu J, Goyal A, et al. Alzheimer Disease. StatPearls. 2022.
  4. Alzheimer’s Association®. Plan for your future.
  5. Alzheimer’s Association®. Be a healthy caregiver.

All URLs accessed February 14, 2024.

Scientific Council

Marc Agronin, MD

Chief Medical Officer
Frank C. and Lynn Scaduto MIND Institute and Behavioral Health
Miami Jewish Health
Miami, FL

Liana G. Apostolova, MD, MSc, FAAN

Indiana University Distinguished Professor
Barbara and Peer Baekgaard Professor in Alzheimer's Disease Research
Professor in Neurology, Radiology, Medical and Molecular Genetics
Indiana University School of Medicine
Department of Neurology
Indianapolis, IN

Alireza Atri, MD, PhD

Director, Banner Sun Health Research Institute
Banner Health
Sun City, AZ
Lecturer on Neurology, Center for Brain/Mind Medicine
Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA

Ariel F. Cole, MD, FAAFP

Program Director, AdventHealth Geriatric Fellowship
Winter Park, FL

Brad Dickerson, MD, MMSc, FAAN

Director, Massachusetts General Hospital
Frontotemporal Disorders Unit
Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA

Richard M. Dupee, MD, MACP, AGSF

Clinical Professor of Medicine
Tufts University School of Medicine
Clinical professor, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Tufts University
Chief, Geriatrics Service, Tufts Medical Center
Senior Physician, Pratt Diagnostic Center
Dean ex officio, Office of International Affairs, Tufts University School of Medicine
Boston, MA

James E. Galvin, MD, MPH

Professor of Neurology
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Miami, FL

David S. Geldmacher, MD

Professor and Director
Division of Memory Disorders and Behavioral Neurology
Department of Neurology
Heersink School of Medicine
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Birmingham, AL

George T. Grossberg, MD

Henry & Amelia Nasrallah Endowed Professor
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience
Saint Louis University School of Medicine
St. Louis, MO

Scott A. Kaiser, MD

Director of Geriatric Cognitive Health
Pacific Neuroscience Institute
Santa Monica, CA

Diana R. Kerwin, MD, CPI

President, Kerwin Medical Center
Chief, Geriatric Medicine, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital
Dallas, TX

Scott McGinnis, MD

Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School
Center for Alzheimer Research and Treatment
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Frontotemporal Disorders Unit
Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston, MA

Manisha Parulekar, MD, FACP, AGSF, CMD

Director, Division of Geriatrics
Co-director, Center for Memory Loss and Brain Health
Hackensack University Medical Center
Hackensack, NJ

Giulio M. Pasinetti, MD, PhD

The Saunders Family Chair and Professor of Neurology
Director of the Center for Molecular Integrative Neuroresilience,
Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience
Professor of Geriatrics and Adult Development
Department of Neurology and Friedman Brain Institute
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
New York, NY

William D. Rhoades, DO, FACP

Chief Medical Officer
Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital
Downers Grove, IL

Marwan Noel Sabbagh, MD, FAAN, FANA

Vice Chairman for Research and Professor
Department of Neurology
Barrow Neurological Institute
Phoenix, AZ

Paul E. Schulz, MD

Rick McCord Professor in Neurology
Umphrey Family Professor of Neurodegenerative Diseases
Director, Neurocognitive Disorders Center
Director, Neurocognitive Disorders Fellowship
McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston
Houston, TX

Neil Skolnik, MD

Professor of Family and Community Medicine
Sidney Kimmel Medical College
Thomas Jefferson University
Philadelphia, PA

R. Scott Turner, PhD, MD

Professor of Neurology
Director of the Memory Disorders Program
Georgetown University
Washington, DC

Chuck Vega, MD, FAAFP

Health Sciences Clinical Professor
UC Irvine Department of Family Medicine
Director, UCI Program in Medical Education for the Latino Community
Irvine, CA

Geoffrey C. Wall, PharmD, FCCP, BCPS

John R. Ellis Distinguished Chair of Pharmacy Practice
Professor of Clinical Sciences
Director, Drake Drug Information Center
Drake University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Internal Medicine Clinical Pharmacist
Iowa Methodist Medical Center
Des Moines, IA

David A. Wolk, MD, FAAN

Professor of Neurology
Director, Penn Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA