A dementia diagnosis can trigger many overwhelming emotions, from upset and anger to disbelief or numbness. Also, you might find it difficult to absorb the information from a doctor and need time to adjust to the idea of living with the disease.
Once you feel emotionally ready to do so, there are some steps you should follow to navigate this emotional period and ensure your needs are met at every stage of the disease. Here is what to do after a dementia diagnosis.
Join a Support Group
Many people find it beneficial to join a support group after receiving a dementia diagnosis. It will provide a non-judgmental space to discuss your fears for the future and mix with others living with one or more forms of the disease.
If you don’t feel ready to talk once you join, it might help to attend the group sessions and listen to what others are saying, which could provide comfort that you are not alone with your worries, confusion, or frustrations.
Discuss Your Care Wishes
It is crucial to consider the type of care you would like to receive as the disease reaches the moderate to advanced stages. If you wish to remain at home, you might need to discuss who will care for you during this time, such as a partner, relative, or professional caregiver.
Alternatively, you could move into an assisted living facility now or during the later stages to ensure you receive the assistance you need from medical professionals and a fully trained team of staff. For example, you could relax in the knowledge that you will receive award-winning memory care in Atlanta, as well as 24-hour support from a licensed nurse and physical, occupational, and speech therapy when appropriate.
Once you have made up your mind on a care plan, you must express your wishes to your loved ones to ensure they follow your requests to the letter.
Confide in a Therapist
Don’t bottle up your emotions. Talk about how you are feeling to process a diagnosis and adjust to your new normal. As hard as it might be to discuss a future with dementia, it could help you navigate any hurdles you will face, from health fears to various family worries. A qualified therapist will listen to you without judgment and provide coping mechanisms to help you overcome any challenges and protect your mental health.
Pick a Lasting Power of Attorney
Selecting a lasting power of attorney will allow a person to make healthcare and financial decisions on your behalf, which is essential during the moderate to advanced stages of dementia.
A lasting power of attorney will be responsible for many major decisions, such as your medical care, where you should live, who can visit you, mortgage repayments, selling your home, paying bills, and much more. As you will grant a loved one the legal power to make medical and money choices on your behalf, you must choose a relative or friend you trust to ensure they make the right decisions for you.
As hard as it might be to choose a loved one to shape your health and finances, it will also provide comfort that your life and legacy are in safe hands should the disease progress or your financial circumstances change.
Of course, it is essential to have patience with yourself following a diagnosis and complete the above actions one step at a time.