Being diagnosed with dementia can be scary. None of us know quite how dementia will affect us. Which memories will stay and which will go? And how will this affect our life and the lives of our loved ones?
While you’re likely to have a lot of concerns, you should try not to worry too much. There is a lot of support out there. Besides, allowing yourself to get stressed could worsen the condition. Below are just some tips for dealing with a dementia diagnosis.
Reach out to people
A lot of people withdraw from socialising when they get a dementia diagnosis. This can be out of fear of forgetting things or it could be a fear of being treated differently. This withdrawal could make you feel isolated and may even make your condition worse. Being social is good for strengthening your cognitive abilities and even if it is challenging it will make you feel better. Where possible, try to be open about your feelings. It’s worth also connecting with people you haven’t seen for a while.
Start planning for the future
In case your memory declines further and you cannot look after yourself, it is worth putting in place plans as to how you will be looked after. It could be worth talking to an elder law attorney about establishing power of attorney, as well as doing some estate planning. If you’re still working, it could be worth talking to your employer about your condition and how this may affect your work in the future. You could also start planning improvements for your home such as placing reminder notes in locations or placing important items like keys and your phone in easy-to-remember locations.
Don’t be hard on yourself
If you forget things or make mistakes, try not to get angry at yourself. This won’t help and could create extra stress that could make your condition worse. Try to move on from your mistakes and remain calm. It’s not your fault, it’s dementia.
Get enough sleep
Good sleep quality is good for the brain. Lack of sleep can often increase memory loss. Try to get into a good sleep routine. If you struggle to sleep, try exploring different ways of improving your sleep quality such as taking sleep supplements or upgrading your bedding.
Try to live a healthy lifestyle
Nobody really knows the true cause of dementia. Unhealthy habits like smoking, heavy drinking, consuming lots of sugar and not being physically active have been linked to a higher risk of developing dementia. They are also believed to speed up memory decline in those that already have the disease. In fact, studies have found that those who live a healthy lifestyle often experience much more gradual dementia progression. As a result, it could be worth trying to break some of those bad habits. By living a healthier lifestyle, you could slow down your dementia.