How to Cope With a Recent Dementia Diagnosis
It is an unfortunate reality that a significant number of us will develop dementia. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 75 million people will be diagnosed with some form of the condition by the year 2030. As the prevalence continues to rise, it is becoming increasingly important for everyone to take part in regular professional evaluations and to use self-assessment tools like the BrainTest® app for the early detection of dementia.
It can be a tremendous shock to be diagnosed with dementia, and it is completely understandable for anyone in this situation to initially feel confused, angry, sad, or afraid. Despite the significance of the diagnosis, it is important to realize that you can still find ways to make the most out of life as your dementia progresses.
Gaining Acceptance and Social Support
Denial is one of our go-to coping mechanisms, but you must resist the desire to simply ignore your diagnosis. Some people are under the false impression that there is no point in receiving professional treatments for dementia. Yes, dementia is a complex and serious condition that will impair your quality of life even if you receive treatment, but there are a variety of medications and other therapeutic methods that can slow cognitive decline and address several of the symptoms that could emerge, like sleep disorders, pain, and anxiety.
Failing to accept your diagnosis would also prevent you from gaining valuable support through friends, family, and other social groups. A common mistake is to think that you will be a burden to them if they knew about the diagnosis, and you would be saving them pain by keeping it to yourself. The fact is that, if you have people in your life who care for you, they would be far more burdened by finding out that they could have helped you when it is already too late. The love and support of friends and family can be extremely helpful for anyone who has been recently diagnosed with dementia, especially on an emotional level.
Learning and Preserving
After you have made peace with the initial diagnosis of dementia, there is much to gain from learning about your specific condition. There are many forms of dementia, from Alzheimer’s disease to several frontotemporal types, and each has its own characteristics. By doing your own research and having discussions with professionals, you can better understand your condition as it relates to symptoms, progression, treatments, and more. This knowledge will help to prepare you for the future and will keep you up to date on any new findings that could apply to your situation. The BrainTest® Knowledge Center is a great place to start the learning process, in addition to our blog (which you may already know, since you are here).
Having dementia does not mean that you are instantly going to lose your mind and body. It is true that the condition does have a major impact on both psychological and physiological aspects of human health, but it could be many years before the symptoms become severe. Furthermore, after receiving a diagnosis, you can take steps to better preserve your mental and physical well-being. Professional services can be invaluable at this point, as doctors and therapists can typically provide the best advice when it comes to diet and lifestyle choices for people with a certain type of dementia. A healthy body and mind will help you to continue to enjoy life as the symptoms progress.