In this chapter of ‘One step at a time’, our video guide to navigating dementia, we break down the practical steps you can take in the first few weeks after diagnosis, myth-bust common misconceptions and share tips on pathways for support.
Getting an early dementia diagnosis often brings up more questions than answers. We’re here to help you from that very first step.
Each person living with dementia is different, and no two cases are the same. However, different types of dementia have different signs and symptoms, so getting to know more about the type of dementia you or a loved one has will help you plan for the future.
As you learn more about the types of dementia, you might come across lots of information and advice at once. Remember that you don’t have to change everything all at once.
It’s a common misconception that life stops as soon as you receive a dementia diagnosis. You can continue living as you would have and doing the things you enjoy with a few changes. You, your family and friends, and carers and support workers can work together over time to ensure that you continue to live the best life possible.
Following an early diagnosis, it’s beneficial to think about the future.
Make a note of what’s important to you, and then make those wishes known – you might not be able to communicate these later on. Consider things like:
You might not need these now, but making these contacts early ensures you’re in the right position throughout your journey with dementia.
There are different ways to support people living with dementia, including changes to lifestyle or medications to manage symptoms. It’s advisable that these are discussed early on.
A diagnosis can come as a shock even if you’re expecting it. Luckily, there is a lot of support available to help you through this difficult time. We’ve put together a list of sources of support, and we also have numerous guides that contain information from dementia specialists who have helped countless families through diagnosis.
Talking through your situation can also be helpful. Get in touch with your nearest care home, and they’ll be able to provide further resources or a listening ear over coffee.
Many of our care homes also run dementia cafés where local people can come in and share experiences with others in a similar situation. Remember, you’re not alone.
You or your loved one might be happy to continue living independently for now, but it’s always worth thinking about the future as some cases of dementia can escalate quickly.
Whether you bring in home-care or decide a care home would be the safest option, it’s important that you work with the care provider to maintain close contact. You know your loved one best, and working together is key to giving them the best care.
Find out more about the right time to move into care home.
Once you have moved on from the early stages of a dementia diagnosis, it’s important to learn how you or your loved one can continue living well with dementia. Watch our next video for expert advice.