Coping with a Loved One’s Dementia

A senior woman holding hands with her daughter

If you have a loved one who has recently been determined to have dementia, you’re likely struggling to cope with the news you’ve just received. It can be difficult to come to terms with such a cruel illness, but there are several steps you can take to make the coping process a little easier for you.

Take a look at the following tips to help you process your loved one’s diagnosis.

Give Yourself Time

A dementia diagnosis can be a very difficult, devastating reality to face, so when you become aware that your loved one has dementia, give yourself time. You’re likely going to go through a complex variety of emotions as you come to terms with what’s happening, and it’s important to realize that’s okay. You do not have to “get over” it, or even come to terms with it all at once. Give yourself time to process the way you feel as time passes.

Educate Yourself

Part of what makes a dementia diagnosis so difficult to accept is the uncertainty surrounding the condition. While dementia affects individuals at different rates and different ways, it’s a good idea to do what you can to learn more about dementia in general.

Science has come a long way in understanding the way dementia progresses, and taking the time to educate yourself on the subject can help you both understand your loved one’s current condition and prepare yourself for the way things may proceed.

Seek Support

Understanding that you are not alone is a crucial part of learning how to cope with a loved one’s dementia. Many individuals and families have been in the position you find yourself in now, and because dementia is relatively common, finding a support network is very much possible.

If you’re not sure where to start when looking for support, ask your loved one’s medical provider for information about support groups or look online for dementia support networks in your area.

It helps to talk to people who understand what you’re going through, and by joining a support group, you can find yourself in positive company. Interacting with and supporting others who are struggling can help you find strength in the face of such a difficult time in your life.

Finally, remind yourself that your loved one is still the same person they’ve always been, despite the fact that they’re dealing with a serious illness. Remember that you love this person and keep your pleasant memories close to your heart in difficult times. Connect with supportive individuals or groups in your area and give yourself the time you need to heal.