Accepting the Diagnosis: Tips for Patients and Loved Ones

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Hearing that you or someone dear to you has been diagnosed with dementia can be overwhelming. It’s normal to feel sorrow, pain, fear, and confusion. Some people even go through the denial stage. The grieving and denial stages are essential parts of the healing process. Accepting the diagnosis takes a lot of time.

No two patients receive the news the same way. Some keep it to themselves, while others lean on their families and friends. There are even instances where they seek the help of professionals and face their problems right on. But, you see, there is no right way to accept a heart-breaking diagnosis. The following tips are proven helpful in taking such life-changing news.

Learn all you can

You can’t win a battle without knowing who your opponent is. Some people are scared to read about dementia or other related diseases. However, the more you keep yourself in the dark, the more you’ll get scared. Your imagination might add more scary details than to what you are facing. So, read about the diagnosis. Then, prepare the things that can make life with dementia more bearable. For example, you can rearrange the house, remove hazards, and shop for more comfortable clothes, protective underwear, and adult pull ups for later use. Doing so will help the patient feel that it’s not the end of the world and that you’ll keep finding ways to make it work. You can also extend your research by asking people with the same experience for tips and advice. 

Help the patient keep their identity

The saddest and scariest part of having dementia is losing one’s self. It is perfectly normal for patients to feel uncertain and unsure of their purpose and identity. It’s confusing for the patient and downright heart-breaking for their loved ones. One way to shake off this dilemma is by engaging the patients in different activities that can rekindle their passions or bring new meaning to their lives. Engage them in conversations about their past, and encourage them to participate in social activities or try new hobbies. If they are hesitant to go alone, look for activities you can do together. The key is to make them excited about life every day.

Welcome your emotions

Having dementia is not your fault nor the patient’s fault. There is no use in pointing fingers and looking for someone to blame. And even after the initial shock, it’ll still be painful and scary to accept it. So, it’ll be good for everyone (especially the patient) if you create a safe place for all of you to express your emotions. You can set a specific time or day where you’ll talk about your fears, doubts, and sorrows. Keeping everything bottled up can only add to your stress and anxiety. However, you should try to keep the mood light and cheerful most of the time.

Final thoughts

Being diagnosed with dementia or other related diseases is heart-breaking and life-shattering. However, this tragedy can become meaningful with the help of families,  doctors, and friends. But the first step to this long journey is acceptance.

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