Finding out you have Alzheimer's disease is a very emotional time. You feel shock, disbelief, fear, great sadness, anger, maybe numbness. All the symptoms you have been experiencing have now been given a name. It's a lot of information to take on board.
First you have to decide if you want to tell others. There are many advantages. Here are a few strategies, thoughts and ideas, of how to deal with telling family and friends.
Take things one step at a time; there's no rush
It is very important to remember that you do not become the disease, in other words, you have had a diagnosis but you are still you.
Although friends and relatives may have noticed changes you are still in charge of when and where you tell others your diagnosis.
Time can give you an opportunity to find out information about Alzheimer's disease and some people want a bit of space to deal with their feelings before they tell others.
You may feel hesitant to reveal the diagnosis, but, in general, you will find the majority of people supportive and helpful.
Give Information About Alzheimer's DiseaseInvolve yourself in the conversations about your feelings and condition.
Alzheimer's is a medical condition and, as with any serious medical condition, it has psychological, emotional and social impact on your life. It is not contagious. Giving your family and friends information about condition can be helpful to you all.
The early days of adjusting to a new life can be difficult. Keeping family and friends on side, having their love and support is important for now and for the future.
Information, educational material and emotional support can be obtained from this and other websites. There is usually an Alzheimer's Association support group in most areas, all over the world.
You can invite close friends and family members to accompany you to a support group meeting sponsored by a local Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association.
It is a good idea to inform neighbors. They will be more understanding if any socially difficult situations occur later on in your life.
Legal Obligations to Inform
Your family doctor or specialist will be able to give you, your friends or relatives, any information about possible legal obligations in your State or country to inform official bodies that you have Alzheimer's disease. This may be relevant on issues such as driving and for legal documents.
Including Family and Friends in Planning For the Future
Some people decide on a family conference to share the information, to plan and look to the future. It can act as a support group for you all.
Do remember that although you have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease you are still very much an individual and as I say very often, you are not the disease, you are still you. Each person is different and will experience Alzheimer's in different ways, sometimes severely, sometimes only in a mild way. Your experience is individual and so is the way in which friends and relatives experience their involvement with you. Some you will want to involve in care giving and it can help them better
understand your situation.
Don't overlook the role of children and teenagers
Explain to them what is happening to you in simple language. Love is the most important thing and their relationships with you will always be important.