Why Is an Early Alzheimer’s Diagnosis Helpful?

The patient gets the time, resources, and mental preparedness to cope with it

Mukundarajan V N
The Daily Cuppa Grande
3 min readJun 11, 2024


Photo by Astrid Schaffner on Unsplash

“I know firsthand that a diagnosis of the disease doesn’t have to freeze our lives and herald the end of our stories—it can instead invite us to a new stage of life.(Stephen Gettinger, nytimes.com)

Stephen Gettinger is a retired journalist. His mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 1983 and passed away in 1999. Shortly after her death, he wrote an article in the New York Times about her life with the disease.

In 2023, Gettinger had trouble with his gait, hearing, and swallowing food. He was diagnosed with symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

Initially, he was depressed. Gradually, with his wife’s support and the neurologist's guidance, he regained his ability to walk with balance. His hearing and vision improved, and he could eat without choking.

His confidence in his ability to cope with the disease increased as he recalled his mother’s experience. She was cheerful in her final days and lived her life with childlike wonder and joy.

He says his mother lived in a Zen-like existence, exulting over the simple pleasures of life like playing with toys and eating ice cream. She smiled a lot, and the caretakers at the assisted facility loved her.

In his 1999 article, he wrote about his mother,

“As she tiptoed back into infancy, she sought out the pleasure in little things. In the process, she became my Zen master. She would clutch a tulip and scrutinize it for an hour. She ate strawberries with a child’s wonder, each time for the first time. On one warm spring afternoon, I remember, she sat outside our house blowing kisses to the azaleas and dogwoods. Gradually, she dissolved entirely into sweetness, blowing kisses to me, to the sun, to the smiling aides who took carAn early A

She passes away in her sleep.

Gettinger is relieved at his early Alzheimer’s diagnosis because it is possible to relieve the symptoms to improve the quality of life. There is the chance to participate in new clinical trials to find a cure.

An early detection of the disease also helps the family members to prepare for an uncertain future by anticipating possible outcomes. Mental preparedness mitigates the shock of a late diagnosis.

Gettinger concludes by striking a confident note:

“As activities and some aspects of my previous life inevitably fade away, I hope to be similarly graced by a deepening of other capacities. Now, if anyone were to offer me the same deal as my mother’s — to live to 89 with receding memories, but to drift away in sleep still enjoying life and bringing joy to others — I’d grab it in a second.”

An early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is not the end of life. In fact, it’s helpful in many ways. The patient gets the time to process the diagnosis with the support of the family members and the opportunity to tap into new medical treatment.

Though the exact progression of the disease cannot be predicted, it helps to remain positive when the mental and physical faculties are normal.

Thanks for reading!



Mukundarajan V N
The Daily Cuppa Grande

Retired banker living in India. Avid reader. I write to learn, inform and inspire. Believe in ethical living and sustainable development. vnmukund@gmail.com