You Just Found Out You Have Dementia…Now What?

After a diagnosis of irreversible dementia what should you do? What does it mean when you are told you – or someone you love – has irreversible dementia?

This news can be devastating. Your first reaction may be to hide the information from those you love. You may be in denial and ignore what you have been told. You may think that the diagnoses can’t be right because today you feel ok and are able to function pretty well.

If you believe that the diagnosis could be wrong, then seek a second opinion. A second opinion can’t hurt. Ask your family physician to refer you to a geriatric physician who deals with memory care, or if you have younger onset, find a specialist that deals with younger onset dementia. You don’t necessarily need to see a neurologist yet.

You definitely need to have blood and physiological testing done and any other tests your doctor recommends. These tests will rule out effects from medications or other issues that may be causing the diagnosis.

Once you have verified a diagnosis of irreversible dementia, the next step is telling those close to you. You need your family and friends to know, so do not try to hide your disease and be in denial. Pick someone who you trust to help you inform others. You cannot hide dementia.

Next, you will need to have a plan in place. The more you plan with your loved ones now, the better quality of life everyone will have. You need to have your finances in order and have someone you trust handle them and take care of paying your bills. If you still drive, then now may be the time to give up driving and make other transportation arrangements. You also need to make decisions about your will, who will be your health care power-of-attorney, legal power-of-attorney, and ultimately who will be your legal guardian once you are unable to make decisions for yourself?

For the families and friends, there are many support groups, along with free seminars and conferences, available in the community to help those caring for someone with dementia. At Agapé Senior, we also have dementia specialists available to help families or speak at your group function. Please contact us at our number below for more information.

Scott Middleton is the CEO of Agapé Senior with services throughout South Carolina. For more info on Agapé Senior, or to speak to one of our dementia care specialists, visit or call 1-800-411-AGAPE (2427).