Dementia Diagnosis

by Lois Etienne on December 9, 2011

in Alzheimer's and Dementia,Caregiver Support,Senior Health and Safety

Senior Mother with Boomer DaughterIf you’re facing the challenge of sharing a dementia diagnosis with a loved one, consider following these steps:

  1. Learn all you can about dementia so that you can speak to your family member with confidence and answer questions.
  2. After the physician has explained the situation, take an upbeat approach. Tell your Mom that she is not alone, that many people have this diagnosis, and that there is a lot of life left! If you don’t want to use medical terms like Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, just remind her that the doctor says she has some “memory problems.”
  3. Answer your loved one’s questions fully, but stress the positive—for example, that memory pills may help, and that research continues around the world to find a better treatment or cure.
  4. Stress that you will travel the journey with your family member. Your optimism and positive tone will be comforting.

Most importantly, have empathy for the person in your care, and communicate with an upbeat, positive spirit. Provide loving support and engage your loved one in meaningful activities that build their sense of purpose and self-esteem. If the journey becomes overwhelming for you, consider joining a support group, participate in family caregiver educational opportunities, and hire others to help you. You and your family member do not have to travel this path alone. Travel companions can help you make the most of every day.

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