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emotional reactions

2.1 Emotional reactions to having dementia

Managing your feelings is a key step in moving forward with dementia

Strong feelings in reaction to the diagnosis

“It was very overwhelming, you know, to be really told ‘Yes, you do have dementia.’”

  • People with dementia often feel shocked and numb when told their diagnosis.
  • Many feel extremely distressed and upset.
  • Some describe grief and loss.
  • Some feel anger that this had happened to them.
  • Others felt relief, they finally had an explanation for what was happening to them.

Almost all people with dementia describe strong emotional reactions to their diagnosis. Many people felt overwhelmed and couldn’t listen, think or do much immediately after the diagnosis.

It takes time for feelings to settle down.

For some people it takes a couple of days, for others a couple of weeks. If it takes more than a few months and you’re still feeling extremely distressed about the diagnosis, then it’s time to get help to work through those feelings. Strong feelings can get in the way of moving forward with dementia.


Talk to family and/or friends about your feelings

Share your feelings about dementia and talk through the reasons for your feelings.