To Tell or Not To Tell

by Lois Etienne on December 7, 2011

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

Doctors are often asked by families not to share the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s with the affected loved one. The families who say it are afraid that the truth will devastate their loved one and lead to hopelessness and depression. Some physicians may comply, but most believe it’s a patient’s right to be fully informed about his or her situation. Even patients with dementia deserve to hear the truth.

Most people find it comforting to finally understand the truth about their memory loss. While families dread this moment, in many cases it’s almost a non-event for the person with dementia. He or she may already know something is wrong. Others may be protected from the bad news by their forgetfulness, or not fully understand or retain the information.

Keeping a diagnosis secret makes it very hard to formulate a game plan for success. How can you get to the Alzheimer’s education workshop, support group or start using helpful services if the diagnosis is not revealed? Starting your family member on a recommended memory care medication or treating depression can be extremely difficult if you’re keeping a secret.

If you’re facing the challenge of sharing a dementia diagnosis with a loved one, stay tuned for some helpful tips.

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