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Helping Family & Friends Have a Better Understanding of Dementia

Your loved one is diagnosed with dementia. Now what do you do? You have to coordinate care and help your loved one adjust to this new chapter in life – all while somehow maintaining your own sanity. The last thing on your mind is how to break the news to your family and friends, who are surely eager to better understand what your loved one is going through. What do you say? How do you say it? How do you help them understand what your loved one is going through? It’s a tricky road to navigate, but Artis Senior Living is here to help. Here are a few tips to guide you through the process.

Be Straightforward, Honest & Positive

First and foremost, be straightforward and honest as you broach the subject. Break the news plainly. Explain the diagnosis plainly, outlining the good, the bad, and what to expect as your loved one’s dementia progresses. Don’t sugarcoat it, but also be positive. This is a devastating diagnosis and there is no way around that. But remember your loved one has many good days ahead. Do not lose sight of that – and do not let it be lost on those with whom you share the news.


There is a wealth of information out there about dementia. Organizations like the Alzheimer’s Association and the Dementia Society of America have powerful online presences with all sorts of information on memory loss illnesses and links to local resources. You might also have received brochures from the doctor that spell out what to expect in the wake of a dementia diagnosis. Share them with your friends and family who are interested in learning more about what your loved one is going through.

Let Them Know How They Can Help

Chances are your family and friends will want to help when they find out your loved is living with dementia. Let them. Even if that just means planning regular visits or simply serving as a sounding board for your concerns, it can make a world of difference during this trying time. You cannot do it alone – and there’s no shame in that. It is human nature for others to want to help. It is likely they will get as much out of the experience of being there for a friend or family member as you and your loved one will. And, depending on the level of help they give, they will get an up-close look at what it means to live with dementia.

Check out the Artis Senior Living blog for more tips on senior living.

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