No one wants their partner or family member to receive dementia diagnosis. Whether you were expecting the diagnosis or not, it’s a very difficult thing to hear. Family members and friends of people recently diagnosed describe a mix of emotions from despair and feeling that life has ‘just ended’, to a sense of relief there is an explanation for the changes they’ve noticed. There is no right or wrong way to feel but it’s important to know a diagnosis is the beginning not the end. It is the first step in moving forward with dementia.
Having a name for the disease helps explain the changes you’ve noticed in the person you love. Understanding more about dementia and its symptoms helps you know what to expect and what you can do to support the person and to look after yourself as well.
Many people with dementia and their supporters live meaningful, full lives after diagnosis. In this website, people with dementia and their supporters share their good and bad experiences, they share challenges they’ve faced and solutions they’ve used. This, combined with up-to-date research, will help you choose your own path forward.
Supporters, or carers of people with dementia found the following actions helped in their first year after diagnosis.
- Understanding the diagnosis: this helps you to make sense of what the person is experiencing and why certain changes are happening.
- Coming to terms with dementia: feelings about having a loved one with a diagnosis of dementia are complex and sometimes get in the way of adjusting to life with dementia.
- Managing changes: there are strategies and treatments which can help with the symptoms of dementia.
- Supporting wellbeing: supporting someone with dementia can be time-consuming, but your life doesn’t need to stop.
- Making plans and decisions: plan for now and the future and know what supports and services can help you.
Click on each action to explore information and recommendations that will help you move forward.