When someone is diagnosed with dementia, there are a number of ways in which they can react. Taking in the news and then processing it can take its toll, both mentally and physically, leaving the individual feeling drained and unsure about their next steps. This reaction can also be influenced by the person’s previous experiences, their current mental state and their understanding of dementia. It’s also common to see denial or confusion when the diagnosis is delivered, which can be exacerbated if the situation is not handled with due care and attention. We’ve listed some useful pieces of advice for those who may be going through this themselves, or for those who may be caring for someone who has been newly diagnosed.
Understand and Manage Your Feelings
Being diagnosed with a condition such as dementia will be tough on your emotions, forcing you to deal with a range of them all at once. Some people will feel sadness or a sense of loss due to the idea that they will no longer be able to do the things they used to enjoy, or carry on with plans for the future. Others may feel as though they did something wrong which then caused them to develop dementia, or maybe not enough to prevent it. However, this is not something to think about too much, as the root cause for dementia is not yet known and therefore cannot be linked to any right or wrong doings.
Talk to those around you
As someone who has recently been diagnosed, you will be experiencing a range of emotions. You may have questions about your dementia for both your doctor and those you are close to, so talking to them is the best way forward. Although your initial response may be to keep your feelings closed off, working through the logical steps with those offering support will be extremely beneficial. If you’re unable to do this, there are also a number of support groups available that will act as a safe space for you to discuss your diagnosis with others.
Look After Yourself
Having received such life changing news, you want to make sure that you are in the best mental and physical state possible. Your emotions can have a knock-on effect on your overall health, making you feel exhausted and unmotivated. One way to tackle this is by ensuring you have a healthy diet and are getting all of your essential nutrients. Making sure you keep active, both mentally and physically, is also essential as you move into this new stage of your life. Taking up a form of light exercise such as Pilates or yoga can also help to offer some form of head-space thanks to its core focus on meditation and mindfulness.
Consider Care Plans
In the early stages of dementia, it’s good to know what you want to happen, both with yourself and your family, as your condition progresses. Communicating your medical preferences with your family, especially those closest to you, will ensure that they are not left with making any hard decisions themselves, if required to do so. Allocating someone who you trust to look after your possessions and finances when you are no longer able to can also help to bring peace of mind. It’s also essential to think about who you will have caring for you as your condition progresses. Opting for live-in care enables you to stay in the comfort of your own home and receive 24/7 care, whilst visiting care allows you to maintain your independence with an added helping hand. Either way, knowing you have care and assistance when you need it will be a relief for both yourself and your loved ones.
IP Homecare are on hand to support you or a loved one with the diagnosis of dementia. Whether you’re looking for some extra support during the day or night or even longer periods of care – we’re here to help.
To find out more call: 0808 274 8827