Early diagnosis of dementia can make all the difference. The sooner you know, the better you’ll be able to tackle it head-on. And the sooner treatment begins, the better the quality of life.

If you or your loved one are noticing signs or symptoms of Alzheimer’s or other dementia, don’t hesitate. Get checked out right away. Here are a few of the benefits of an early diagnosis.

Time to Assess Options & Learn About the Disease

It’s better to make important care decisions while your mind is still sharp. An early diagnosis gives you a window to make more complete, better-informed choices. It also gives you an opportunity to learn about dementia, what’s ahead, and how to prepare for it.

Let’s You Plan Ahead

An early diagnosis gives you more of a say in where you end up should you choose to spend the next chapter of life in a Memory Care community. It also gives you the chance to work with your family to help plan out the details of the decision. It gives you time to hand off important financial information to your family and to work with them or a lawyer to prepare any legal documentation. As difficult as it might be, it’s better to do all this now than to wait and hope for the best later on.

Allows Time to Make Lifestyle Changes

While there’s no way to prevent dementia or reverse its effects, science has shown that certain lifestyle changes can help slow its progression. Healthy eating, regular exercise, and mental and social stimulation are all thought to help keep your mind sharp. A diet including “fruit, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, poultry, fish, and legumes may reduce the risk of dementia,” according to Dementia Care Central. An early diagnosis means you’ll have more time to dial in your diet.

Research has shown that regular exercise can help prevent or slow the progression of dementia. It’s never too late to get into the swing of a fitness routine.

Don’t just exercise your body. Exercise your mind. Medical research has shown that an active mind can help slow cognitive decline. Learn something new, play cards with friends, or try your hand at crossword puzzles.

In addition, social interaction can have a positive effect on those living with dementia. Meeting with friends over coffee or making time for conversation can go a long way in quality of life.

Gives You More Quality Time With Your Family

In no way is a dementia diagnosis easy, but learning early can give you a little more quality time with your family while your mind is still sharp. It can also give you time to pass down family history that might not be recorded elsewhere. Work together with family to create a memory box that captures your interests and key moments of your past.