By Evan Curry
Living with Alzheimer’s can be a daunting path for many people after receiving a diagnosis. Some people feel embarrassed, some become fearful, others will try to ignore their disease and attempt to mask their symptoms entirely. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed emotionally after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. While everyone deals with this news differently, it is important to remember that your life doesn’t end with the diagnosis. You can continue to live well with additional support and strategies.
After diagnosis, be patient with yourself and know that it will take time to adjust your lifestyle and figure out your new routine. Try to set daily goals for yourself, even something small can make a huge difference. Approach life one day at a time, concentrate on yourself and the things that fill you up, and continue doing what you love. If you enjoy gardening, consider creating a new garden bed; if you love to sew, start on that scarf you’ve been envisioning. You may need to make adjustments to how you approach your favorite activities following a diagnosis, but don’t let this discourage you. The activities s you love are even more valuable post-diagnosis, find ways to do them.
Know that while there are many challenges that come with living with dementia, creating a coping strategy for these struggles will help you to face difficulties in stride and are an important part of dealing with this disease.. Creating reminders for activities, chores, and medications,, developing a daily routine for consistency, and letting go of or simplifying complex tasks are all examples of coping strategies that can aide daily life.. Read our list of coping strategies and tips for living day-to-day.
Incorporate activities into your routine that continue to engage your brain and your body. Going on daily walks or making sure to eat healthy and drink enough water can do wonders for your body and in turn, your outlook. Healthy living is an area where it can be great to make and set goals for yourself. To help with that, we at the Alzheimer’s Association have created the Live Healthy Module, to help create, organize, and maintain a healthy outlook and lifestyle.
Finally, maintaining social connections with your friends and family can make your journey living with dementia easier to face. Engaging with others who have also been diagnosed can be just as beneficial. The people you keep in your life post-diagnosis will be your support pillars through both victories and challenges in the days, months, years ahead. The Alzheimer’s Association provides many opportunities to engage with people facing a similar path who are also trying to live well with dementia or help loved ones live well. There are support groups, educational seminars, social activity programs and much more located on our website.
Alzheimer’s isn’t the end of your story, but a new chapter in the book of life. How you approach living with Alzheimer’s disease can determine how your story goes: be patient with yourself, create a routine, develop strategies, engage your brain and body, maintain a community of social support and — live well through challenge and change.