If your loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, you will likely have a lot of questions. Your first resource should be the healthcare team, as they can help navigate any confusion or uncertainty. Asking the most relevant questions will help you know what to anticipate and how to take action.
Use this list to help prepare questions for the provider ahead of time. This will help you make the most of your loved one's next appointment.
Diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment
What type of dementia does my loved one have, and what stage?
How is it different from other types of dementia?
What caused the dementia?
Is dementia genetic; can it be inherited?
What is the likely course of decline? How fast will it happen?
What is my loved one's life expectancy with dementia?
What symptoms, other than memory loss, can we expect?
Can dementia cause pain or other suffering?
How will I know that they are in pain, anxious, or otherwise suffering?
What treatment options are available?
What can we do to slow the decline?
Are there effective medicines?
Is my loved one a candidate for any of them?
What can we expect from the medicines?
What are the side effects?
At what point in dementia progression are the medications stopped?
What lifestyle changes will be helpful?
Any helpful diet changes?
Are the supplements and programs advertised that claim to cure Alzheimer's legitimate? (Coral calcium, Omega-3s, ginkgo biloba, vitamin E, Co-Q 10, and other supplements, as well as "brain games" and various smart device apps.)
Are there any clinical trials you would recommend?
What type of specialists should we see?
Safety and care
Are there ways that I can help my loved one remember things around the home?
How should I talk with my loved one as they are losing and when they have lost their memory?
What type of words should I use?
What is the best way to ask them questions?
What is the best way to give instructions to someone with memory loss?
What is the best way to react when the person I am caring for becomes confused, hard to manage, or does not sleep well?
What can I do to help the person calm down?
Are there activities that are more likely to agitate them?
Can I make changes around the home that will help keep the person calmer?
What should I do if the person I am caring for wanders around?
How can I keep them safe when they do wander?
Are there ways to keep them from leaving the home?
How can I keep the person I am caring for from hurting themselves around the house?
What should I hide?
Are there changes I should make in the bathroom or kitchen?
Are they able to take their medicines?
What type of diet should they be on?
Are there hazards I should watch for while this person is eating?
What should I do if this person starts to choke?
Resources and future planning
Where can I go to learn more about dementia?
What help is available to guide us through this illness?
What plans should we make now to prepare for a time when my loved one may be less able to make decisions?
What are reasonable goals for now and in the future?
Should we connect with an occupational therapist to teach us daily living skills targeted to those with dementia?
When will we need to get help in the home or go to a facility?
If we have a problem that might be related to my loved one's dementia, whom should we call?