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You have been diagnosed with Dementia. Now What?

I am guessing that many of you share my fear of dementia. For those of us with loved ones who have lived with it, we know how devestating it is for the individual as well as the loved ones that surround them. But it doesn’t have to be. Once diagnosed, you have so much opportunity to direct, manage, and guide your life.

When the outcome wasn’t quite what you wanted.

I believe that the numbers reported are low because many people just don’t pursue a diagnosis. It is important to get a diagnosis for many reasons. The first is planning. If you know what you are facing you will be better prepared to plan the rest of your life.

As a Daily Money Manager who works mostly with individuals who have cognitive impairment or dementia, I know that not planning ahead or documenting personal wishes about future care and life choices most often results in guilt for those around you that will help. How will they know what you want if you are not explicit?

I know this after being the local adult child caregiver to my two parents with dementia. My parents had advanced care directives, but the most valuable guide for me in their care was the conversations we had around the dinner table. I knew that my parents wanted QUALITY of life over QUANTITY.

When my Dad was diagnosed with a tumor on the back of his tongue and in a moderate stage of Alzheimer’s, nothing in his care directives spoke to such an unusual situation.

When my mother broke her hip and the Doctor wanted to lift the Do Not Resuccitate order at the hospital to operate on her, I knew she would want me to tell them to let nature takes it’s course.

Ohhhh, but I still have guilt plaguing me about my decisions. I made the best decision I could at the time with the information I had.

The best way to ensure you get the care and support you want as you are living with dementia is to provide written (or video) of your specific care wishes. Use real-life sceanarios around you to tell someone what choice you would make if you were in a similiar situation.

Even if you have estate plans in place, now is the time to visit an attorney to update your plans. There are a variety things you can do to be an active driver for the rest of your life.

There are a wide variety of adults living well with a dementia diagnosis. Check out my favorite champion (who has gotten 3 advanced degress since being diagnosed more than a decade ago under the age of 50) Kate Swaffer https://kateswaffer.com/. Awed.

6 comments on “You have been diagnosed with Dementia. Now What?

  1. […] but think about their chances of developing the disease or another form of dementia. In her latest Dealing with Dementia blog post, Kay Bransford shares the most important things to […]

  2. Hello Kay… it’s been a long time between chats! This is a blog I wrote, which talks to this topic from the perspective of someone diagnosed with dementia. https://kateswaffer.com/2015/02/19/diagnosed-with-dementia-what-next/

  3. Thank you! I will share it. I’m glad to see you are doing so well.

  4. This is something I need to put in place. Mums not too bad at the moment, but she deteriorated very quickly, and I’m concerned that will happen again.
    One major issue I have is being the main (and usually sole) carer, I don’t have power of attorney. I did have, but my brother took my name off it (long, painful and aggravating story). I need to sort this asap. 😕

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