Newly Diagnosed-Now What?
If you’ve just been diagnosed with dementia, you may be experiencing a variety of feelings. You might be angry, scared or overwhelmed. Allow yourself time to process these feelings-whether it’s by talking with family, friends counselors, or your physician. Building a support system early on can help you during the progression of this disease. It is also important to know there are many services available to help you when you need assistance. Here are some additional tips to help:
Educate Yourself: Learn about the progression of this disease and various treatment options. You can start by asking your physician questions about this disease and any concerns you are experiencing.
Choose Your Team: Appoint members to your medical care team-this can include a primary physician, neurologist, counselors and other professionals.
Build a Support System: Talk with your family and friends. Let them know how they can assist you currently and in the future.
Take Stock of Finances: Connect with a representative from your health insurance carrier to learn what services are covered and what are not. If you have a long-term care insurance policy, review it to understand your coverage. In addition, connect with a benefits counselor in your area to learn what assistance you can be entitled to. You may also want to speak with a financial advisor.
Know Your Options: There are legal, financial and advanced care plans you can put in place to ensure proper decisions are made and that your wishes are followed when you are unable to be part of the decision making process.
Learn What is Available: Become familiar with services such as adult day programs, homecare, and long-term care. You may not need these resources at present: however these services can help you remain independent in the future.
Take Care of Yourself: Consult with your physician on healthy lifestyle techniques such exercise, diet, and sleep as these may help you maintain some cognitive activities functions.
Get Help: If you are experiencing changes in mood, like sadness, reach out to your physician. Support groups, individual counseling and other supportive services can help you manage these symptoms.
Socialize: Continue to get together with friends; keep up with your interests and hobbies.
AFA’s licensed social workers are available to answer your questions and provide you with assistance. Contact them through the AFA Helpline at 866-232-8484 or through live chat or e-mail. The Helpline is open from 9 am to 9 pm (ET) on weekdays and 9 am to 1 pm (ET) on weekends.