While I don't think that there is any way to prepare yourself for Alzheimer's Disease, I do think there are ways to get ahead of the game... just a little.
Alzheimer's is the only disease that you can't prevent, you can't slow down and you cannot cure. It is an absolute death sentence. It's a difficult disease to live with as both the patient and the caregiver. The consistency of it can be exhausting and Alzheimer's can last for years.
As our parents age we know that as women we are most likely going to be responsible for their care. Two-thirds of all caregivers are female. As our parents get older we start noticing the changes and we think, "what should we do?" The worst thing you can do is nothing at all.
Although there is never an easy time to have this conversation you should have it as soon as you start noticing the very first signs of Dementia. Here is a link to a post I wrote a few months ago "10 Signs of Alzheimers/Dementia." There are so many things you will need to know, things you will have to do, so any information you can gain now will be a huge help later.
First and foremost, you need to know what kind of plans your parents or loved ones may have already made. Do they have a plan in place for these changes and if so what are they? Have they decided who will be their care manager? Do they have a living will?
If your loved one hasn't made a plan then you need to come up with one together. Who will be their primary caregiver? Will it be a family member or a professional? Will they live with you or go into a memory care facility? So many questions and so very little time. While the disease may last for years their mental capacity and ability to make important decisions won't.
You don't want to live in denial if the facts are right there in front of you. Most caregivers only become caregivers after some emergency has forced them to take over. It is usually very sudden with no time to prepare. This is hard not only for the caregiver, but also the patient. With proper planning, you can transition yourself into taking over with minimal disruptions.
Don't wait until your loved one has wandered away and is lost. Until they forget to take important medication and end up hospitalized. All of these situations can be avoided with some proper planning. Protecting our loved ones is the goal. Keeping them safe, secure and happy is our job.