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Reacting to a diagnosis

For some people, a diagnosis of dementia is a shock. For others, there may be an initial sense of relief at finally being able to put a name to their symptoms. Whatever your immediate response to the diagnosis, over time, you will find yourself experiencing a variety of emotions.

Some common reactions and feelings

Hearing bad news

Dealing with depression

Considering the many changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease, it is understandable that you may feel sad or unhappy.

  • Don’t carry the burden alone. Talk to people who can help you deal with your feelings.
  • Try some activities that can help take your mind off your worries. This could be playing your favourite music, gardening, taking a walk, caring for pets, or anything else that helps you feel better. These activities can have a beneficial effect.

If the feelings of sadness and hopelessness become overwhelming, make an appointment to see your doctor. Professional counselling may be recommended or medication may be considered.

From a booklet and audiotape by the Alzheimer Society of Canada. To get a copy, contact your local Alzheimer Society.