Coping with a New Dementia Diagnosis

Why this resource is helpful:

Getting a diagnosis of Dementia for yourself or a loved one can be scary, we are here for you.
Quoted From:

"If you"ve been diagnosed with dementia, you may feel anger, shock, fear about how your memory and personality may change in the future, or profound sadness and grief at the loss of the life you knew. You may find that a diagnosis has a negative effect on your self-esteem or you feel stigmatized as others start to treat you differently. You may also feel isolated, cut off from even those people closest to you who are unable to understand what you"re going through. Denial or a refusal to accept this is happening can also be common reactions. Some people even feel relief after a diagnosis, glad that they finally know what"s wrong and can plan ahead. Most likely, you"ll experience a mix of these conflicting emotionssometimes all at once. The emotional turmoil following a diagnosis can even trigger depression or anxiety.

We"re all different and no two people will respond to a diagnosis of dementia in the same way. There is no "right" or "wrong" way to react, so don"t tell yourself what you should be thinking or feeling. Instead, give yourself time to process the news and transition to your new situation. You may feel you"ve reached acceptance one day, and then suddenly feel overwhelmed by difficult emotions the next. Allow yourself to grieve and adjust.

Be kind to yourself. Alzheimer"s is not your fault and there"s no reason to blame yourself. With time, you can work through the shock of diagnosis and prepare yourself for the challenges that lie ahead.
Allow yourself to feel. Unpleasant emotions exist whether you choose to acknowledge them or not. Trying to ignore your feelings will only fuel your stress and delay acceptance of your new situation. By allowing yourself to feel your emotions, though, you"ll find that even the most intense, upsetting feelings will pass, the shock and distress will start to fade, and you"ll be able to see a path forward. Try writing down your feelings, talking to someone about what you"re experiencing, or utilizing HelpGuide"s Emotional Intelligence Toolkit.
Learn all you can about the type of dementia you"ve been diagnosed with. Whether it"s Alzheimer"s disease, vascular dementia, or another type of dementia, by learning all you can, you can better cope with symptoms and even help slow the progression of the disease.
Stay connected with family and friends. Maintaining your closest relationships and continuing to enjoy social activities can make a world of difference to your health and attitude. As we age, retirement, relocation, and the loss of loved ones can often shrink our social networks, but it"s never too late to build new, meaningful friendships.
Pursue your favorite hobbies and interests. Engaging in activities that are important to you can help maintain your identity as well as enrich your life. Try taking a class or joining a club to keep your interest growing or to explore new activities.
Build your legacy. In the early stages of dementia, many people are mindful of how they want to be remembered. Maybe you want to pass on your skills and knowledge to others, or leave a record of your life for your grandchildren to enjoy. You might want to create photo albums, write your memoirs or a how-to book, share your favorite recipes, make a record of family traditions, or research your family history. Or perhaps you simply want to spend time with your closest loved ones to create new memories."

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