The unknown is always daunting and receiving a diagnosis of dementia for yourself or a loved one may well cause you distress and fear. Living with dementia is challenging for the individual involved and for those who care about them. People with dementia can live active and fulfilling lives given the appropriate practical and emotional support. Being a carer can have many rewarding aspects.
Sean and Helen talk about being diagnosed
Acknowledgement: Video provided by The Alzheimer Society of Ireland
Telling friends and family
It can be very tempting to bury your head in the sand, carry on as if nothing has changed and try to ignore the challenges involved. Deciding who to tell and when is the individual's choice. Sharing the diagnosis may bring relief and make socialising easier. Friends and family to be more understanding of forgetfulness or a change in behaviour.
After receiving a diagnosis it’s a good idea to take some practical steps to make life run more smoothly. As a first step, you or your family can call the free helpline on 1800 341 341. Advisers and trained volunteers are available to talk to you in confidence about causes of dementia, how a diagnosis is made, accessing services and supports, practical tips for living well day-to-day, legal and financial affairs and much more.
- Organise your financial affairs. Consider paying bills by direct debit to make payments easier.
- Talk to your solicitor about setting up an Enduring Power of Attorney.
- Find out what community services exist in your area. Talk to your local branch of the Alzheimer Society of Ireland, your GP, Public Health Nurse or staff at a Memory Clinic.
- Find out what type of assistive technologies are available which might make daily living a little easier. You can find out more about them from an occupational therapist.
- Access Home Help (HSE/Private), Meals-on-Wheels, Carer’s Association. A social worker or public health nurse will be able to help you. Even if you don’t need this assistance now, the knowledge will be helpful if you do need it at a later stage.