BrightStar Care ~ I Have Alzheimer’s, Now What?


If you been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, don’t worry, you are not alone. There are people who understand what you are going through, and help is available. There is much you can do in the early stage to cope with the changes ahead. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, it’s normal to experience a range of emotions upon receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.
Emotions you may have
You may be grieving over the present losses you are experiencing, or the expectation of future changes as the disease progresses. It can be helpful to identify and understand some of the emotions you may experience after receiving your diagnosis.
  • Anger: Your life is taking a different course than the one you and your family had planned. You cannot control the course of the disease.
  • Relief: The changes you were experiencing were cause for concern. A diagnosis validated these concerns by assigning a name to your symptoms.
  • Denial: The diagnosis seems impossible to believe. You may feel overwhelmed by how your life will change as a result of Alzheimer’s.
  • Depression: You may feel sad or hopeless about the way your life is changing.
  • Resentment: You may be asking yourself what you did to deserve your diagnosis or why this is happening to you and not someone else.
  • Fear: You may be fearful of the future and how your family will be affected.
  • Isolation: You may feel as if no one understands  what you’re going through or lose interest in maintaining relationships with others.
  • Sense of loss: It may be difficult to accept changes in your abilities.
Taking care of your emotional needs
Coming to terms with your diagnosis and the emotions you are feeling will help you accept your diagnosis, move forward and discover new ways to live a positive and fulfilling life. When working through your feelings, try a combination of approaches. Try the following tips:
  1. Write down your thoughts and feelings about your diagnosis in a journal.
  2. You may find your friends and family struggling with your diagnosis and their feelings. Learn more about how you can help family and friends.
  3. Share your feelings with close family and friends. Speak open and honestly about your feelings.
  4. Surround yourself with a good support system that includes individuals who are also living in the early stage of the disease and understand what you’re going through.
  5. Join an early-stage support group. It can provide you with a safe and supportive environment of peers. To find a support group in your area, check with your local Alzheimer’s Association chapter.
  6. Talk to your doctor if you or others are concerned about your emotional well-being. Your doctor can determine the most appropriate treatment plan to address your concerns.
  7. Seek help from a counselor or clergy member. He or she can help you to see things in a new way and help you understand more fully what you are feeling.
  8. If you are feeling misunderstood or stereotyped because of your diagnosis, learn what you can do to overcome stigma.
  9. Stay engaged. Continue to do the activities you enjoy for as long as you are able.
  10. Take the time your need to feel sad, mourn and grieve.
If you have any questions about getting support for Alzheimer’s at home or need additional resources, contact our local office. We are here for you.
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