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Sharing Alzheimer's Diagnosis: Tips for Caregivers

Alzheimer's disease you might wonder and how to tell others. If your loved one wants to share the diagnosis, how do you do it? How does family and friends react? Will they know how to interact with your loved one?

Getting started

Alzheimer's disease can be stressful and frightening. You both might be struggling to come to terms with the diagnosis. They feel uncomfortable around him or her.

If possible, discuss how he or she wants to handle the situation and get permission before sharing the information. Ideally, you'll explore the subject while your loved one is still ready to express his or her wishes. If he or she is unable to do so, ask his or her legal decision-maker.

If you're worried about how to share the diagnosis, keep in mind that family and friends might already have a sense that something is wrong. If you're worried about them, consider the alternative. Keeping the diagnosis a secret could be draining for you. What to say

When telling family and friends about a loved one's Alzheimer's diagnosis, consider:

  • Explaining the disease and its effects. Alzheimer's is a disease in which brain cells degenerate and which causes a decline in memory and mental function over months to years. It is not something your loved one can control.

    Explain the symptoms. Learning about Alzheimer's might help family and friends.

  • Sharing resources. Provide educational material from organizations as well as the Alzheimer's Association. Tell family and friends how to help your loved one-and you. Explain that social interaction is healthy for the brain and slow memory loss, so it's important that they stay engaged.

If you're explaining to Alzheimer's diagnosis to a child, consider giving or loving your loved one to determine how much to share , You might say, "Grandma has a sickness in her brain that's causing her to forget names."

Try to answer any questions simply and honestly and listen to the child's concerns. Explain that sadness or anger is normal and that he did not cause the disease. Helping family and friends know how to act

Once you share the diagnosis, explain what your loved one can do. You might offer suggestions for interacting, such as by having people just reintroduce themselves and avoiding their loved ones. Alzheimer's.

Alzheimer's. A young child might look to his or her baby. Show that it's OK to talk to your loved one and enjoy normal activities with him or her, as well as listening to music or reading stories. Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's. Avoid forcing the issue. Instead, talk honestly about the child's concerns and feelings.

They may feel uncomfortable or drifting out of their loved one's life.

Alzheimer's diagnosis can be difficult. Being honest and providing information about Alzheimer's disease

Updated: 2017-08-01

Publication Date: 2011-08-25

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