After a parent or relative receives a dementia diagnosis, you may wonder, “What happens now?” Even though this diagnosis may have brought some closure around worrisome symptoms or behaviors, it may also have raised more questions about progression, care, and the future.

Our Community Senior Life (CSL) team understands that this is a challenging time for you and your family. As a memory care provider in Alabama, CSL is experienced in navigating the world of dementia and helping individuals and their families understand what happens after a dementia diagnosis.

To help you on your journey, we are sharing the essential steps to take after a loved one receives a dementia diagnosis.

Step #1: Process Your Emotions

It’s normal – and even expected – to feel a variety of emotions after a parent or family member receives a dementia diagnosis. You may feel everything from sadness and worry to confusion or anger. Maybe you even feel a sense of loss at realizing your loved one’s life will inevitably change. However, it’s also possible you feel a slight sense of relief knowing that, with this diagnosis, you can find the proper care and support your family member needs.

Whether or not you expected this dementia diagnosis, it’s a lot to take in, and it will take time to process your emotions. Give yourself the time and space to do this, keeping in mind that other members of your family may be feeling the same way as you and that you can reach out to them for support.

Step #2: Educate Yourself About the Diagnosis

Dementia is an umbrella term for multiple conditions impacting memory and cognition. A dementia diagnosis will also confirm the type of dementia a person is likely experiencing, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Once you know the type of dementia, you can learn as much as you can about it to better understand what they are going through, what symptoms to look for, and how it will progress. Furthermore, this can give you an idea of the care and support your loved one will need as the dementia progresses.

Download Our Free Checklist: Navigating a Dementia Diagnosis

Step #3: Explore Care Options

Proper care can go a long way in promoting health, safety, and quality of life. At CSL, our memory care communities throughout Alabama provide residents with a true home away from home that helps them maintain their independence as much as possible while offering 24/7 care support.

We create safe environments that focus on purpose, joy, and engagement. Our memory care services encourage residents to participate in a range of activities throughout the day that can be tailored to each resident’s individual care needs.

Additional community features and amenities include:

  • 24/7 nurse call systems
  • Electronically secured buildings
  • Therapeutic activities
  • Medication management
  • Dressing assistance
  • Personal appearance and hygiene assistance
  • Housekeeping
  • Mobility assistance

Step #4: Plan for the Future

Dementia is a progressive condition, and it is important to plan for the future. This can include creating a financial plan, discussing legal and healthcare decisions with loved ones, and making plans for future care.

It’s essential to include your parent or family member in these decisions about their future as early as possible. As dementia progresses, they may no longer be able to make informed decisions. Planning for the future as soon as a diagnosis is received can ensure your loved one is able to share their thoughts, feelings, and wishes.

Step #5: Seek Support

Fortunately, many support resources are available for people living with dementia and their families, including support groups, educational tools, and respite care services.

Our Alabama memory care communities provide dementia support groups at Haven Memory Care in Gulf Shores and Haven Memory Care on Halcyon in Montgomery. If you would like more information about joining or getting involved in one of these support groups, please contact the community directly.

In addition, ALZConnected, offered through the Alzheimer’s Association, is a “free online community for everyone affected by Alzheimer’s or another dementia, including people with the disease and their caregivers, friends, family members, and neighbors, as well as those who have lost someone to the disease.”

Receiving a dementia diagnosis can be a difficult and emotional experience for individuals and their families. However, education, patience, and preparation can help you and your family maintain quality of life and navigate dementia more confidently.

We invite you to explore our memory care communities throughout Alabama and learn how our services can support you and your family.