Alzheimer’s is now the diagnosis Americans fear most. Fewer than half of patients diagnosed with ALZ are told.

“The main framework America has available to contend with this is . . . that it’s a terrible, destructive ride all the way down and then you die,” he said. “While factually true, that is extremely unhelpful to families and elders.”

Family members often try to nudge a loved one back toward getting facts right or remembering things correctly, but as the disease progresses this can turn their daily interactions into grim, and increasingly frustrating, battles.

Without dismissing the difficulties of the disease, especially in the late stages, Thomas and others are promoting a more adaptive approach, which they say can help caregivers and patients alike. It involves a lot of flexibility and willingness to expand one’s ideas of how things are supposed to be — even, crazy though it might sound, to see Alzheimer’s as a kind of gift.

Read more on the Washington Post.