Receiving a dementia diagnosis can be an emotional and overwhelming experience for the individual and their family. However, there are steps you can take to ensure a better quality of life for everyone involved.
In order to navigate this challenging time with grace and compassion, you should educate yourself on your loved one’s condition, gather a supportive system, and ensure you and your family are prepared for the future.
From seeking support to making lifestyle changes, Brickmont Assisted Living is here to help and share steps to take following a dementia diagnosis.
1. Recognize Your Emotions
Fear. Denial. Anger. Sadness. These are just a few of the various emotions you might initially feel after someone you love receives a dementia diagnosis. Whether the news came as a shock or you’ve known for a while that your loved one has been experiencing cognitive decline, this diagnosis is never easy to hear.
Allow yourself to feel these emotions and process the diagnosis in your own time. Remember that you aren’t alone in this situation, and understand that those around you are likely experiencing emotions of their own. By showing compassion and understanding, you can help each other work through these emotions and support one another.
2. Research and Learn
After a dementia diagnosis, do as much research as you can in order to know what you can expect in the future. Dementia is a progressive condition and is typically broken down into stages.
While no two dementia journeys are exactly alike, with enough research, you can give yourself peace of mind and stay prepared.
Understand How Dementia Will Progress
In the initial phases of dementia, a person is still able to live independently and might not exhibit any of the typical signs of memory loss or cognitive decline. In fact, many mild signs to expect during the earliest stages mimic that of natural age-related forgetfulness.
During the middle stages, however, symptoms begin to alter a person’s typical behavior and personality. As a result, a person going through this mid-phase of dementia might need more consistent attention or at least need assistance with daily tasks. A person might also experience mood swings due to the confusion and frustration that sets in when they are no longer able to go about their daily routine as they have in the past.
In the late stages of dementia, severe cognitive impairment begins to occur, and a person may lose their ability to effectively communicate.
3. Develop a Support Network
Surround yourself and your loved one with friends and family who can provide you with the support you’ll need during this journey. Make sure you have people close to you who you feel comfortable sharing your honest emotions and feelings with.
Sometimes, sharing difficult feelings with friends and family members might not be an option. For instance, your friends might be unable to relate to your situation, and your family members might not react positively to any feelings of guilt, burnout, or stress you may be experiencing.
In this case, a dementia support group can connect you with people going through similar situations and dementia journeys. Not only will you be able to share your feelings confidently with people who will listen to you judgment-free, but you will have a group of individuals who can help you find dementia resources, share tips for caregiving, and help you learn more about this journey.
A dementia diagnosis significantly changes a person’s life and impacts their family, friends, and close loved ones. And when a loved one is diagnosed with dementia, it can be difficult to know where to turn when exploring your options.
At Brickmont Assisted Living, our dementia care communities serving Atlanta, Georgia, provide exceptional care and services to those living with a form of dementia. Our Silver Linings program offers the tools residents need to enhance their overall wellness and quality of life. When you choose Silver Lining dementia care at Brickmont, you can rest assured your loved one will find meaning and contentment each and every day.
For more information about our assisted live and memory care communities, please contact our team today.