Receiving a diagnosis of dementia can be very painful to come to terms with. This life changing moment triggers a whole range of different emotions, which can change drastically from one day to the next.
What Is Dementia?
People with Dementia will experience symptoms including memory loss, difficulty with problem solving, verbal communication and thinking in general. Everybody will have a different experience in terms of their combination of symptoms depending on the type of dementia they have. There is no known cure for dementia, but understanding which type you have will help you to prepare for the challenges that lie ahead and find ways to manage your symptoms more effectively.
Several drug treatments can help you to manage your condition and alleviate some symptoms, but there are also many non-drug strategies and treatments that can make a huge difference to quality of life for those suffering with the condition and those who are caring for them.
Working Through Your Emotions
Following your diagnosis, you are likely to experience any combination of the following emotions:
- Relief – People often describe a deep sense of relief at the way their diagnosis helps them to make sense of what has been going on. Having experienced symptoms and been referred for tests, the diagnosis suddenly validates your health concerns, explains what you have been going through and helps you to plan your next steps.
- Denial – This is a common reaction to a diagnosis of dementia, many people are simply unable to accept that they have dementia at first, refusing to believe it is happening to them.
- Anger & Resentment – A diagnosis of dementia takes your life on a course you had not anticipated and changes your future. Anger and resentment that this has happened to you is part of the process you will go through following a diagnosis.
- Grief – Typically, there will be a grieving process, for losses that are already being experienced and the anticipation of future losses.
- Fear – Dementia would appear to be the most feared disease in Britain, following surveys that revealed a third of those over the age of 55 were fearful of developing dementia in the future. Fear of what will happen in the future, as the disease progresses and not knowing what the impact will be on yourself and your loved ones is a very painful emotion to process.
- Isolation – Many people feel alone and isolated, because they feel like those around them are able to relate to what they are going through or understand how they are feeling.
Even if you were expecting a diagnosis of dementia, the news can come as quite a shock, sparking any combination of the rollercoaster of emotions described above. Acknowledging and understanding these emotions can be an important first step that will help you to cope with the challenges that lie ahead.
What To Do Next?
Talking to your friends and loved ones openly about your diagnosis and the feelings you are experiencing can make it a great deal easier for them to support you more effectively and help you to make plans for the future. However, many people struggle to talk about their feelings and prefer to keep their emotions close to their chest.
Communicating with others who are going through the same experience can be a huge help, as can talking through your feelings and fears with a health care professional or a counsellor. There is a great deal of support available to help you and your family come to terms with your diagnosis, often your GP will be able to signpost you to the right services and support to meet your individual needs.
Planning For The Future
Over time as your dementia progresses, it may become much more difficult to make important life decisions about your finances and care, so it is crucial to start thinking ahead, making decisions and expressing your wishes to those close to you whilst you are able to make decisions for yourself. This is an important precaution to take, just in case there comes a time in the future when you lack this capacity.
A diagnosis of dementia does not mean that life ends, or that you must stop doing the things that you love and there is a wealth of excellent support available for sufferers and their families.
If you would like to read more blogs about dementia and memory, take a look at the blog section of our website where you will find several on this subject.
Past Blogs On Memory & Dementia
If you’d like to read some more blogs about memory and dementia then why not have a look at the past blogs we’ve listed below. Just click on the titles and you’ll be taken through to the blogs one by one.