Common reactions and feelings

It’s normal to experience a variety of feelings including fear, anger, grief, sadness, embarrassment and disbelief after receiving a diagnosis of dementia.

You may find it helpful to read about some common reactions and feelings of others living with dementia below. These are only some examples and you may experience all, some or none of these feelings. There is no right or wrong way to feel — everyone is unique in how they will experience the disease.


“Sometimes I think they made a mistake. I don’t have Alzheimer’s disease. I’m still functioning.”


“It angers me that I can’t pull myself up.”


“I’m scared about losing my abilities.”


“I feel guilty, like a dead weight around my husband’s neck.”


“I start talking to people, then I forget what I’m talking about; it [dementia] blocks me.”


“If I make a mistake, don’t correct me. That hurts.”


“I have to laugh. That’s therapy. If I didn’t laugh, I would cry.”


“I feel the end of something.”


“It’s all black.”


“You are not in the circle, but on the outside.”


“I take it as it comes at this stage of the game.”


“You have to fight. Hang on. One of these days they will find a cure.”

It is important to acknowledge your feelings, care for yourself, and seek the practical help and emotional support you need. It is important to understand that the changes you are seeing in yourself are due to the disease. They are not your fault.

You may want to cope with the reality of your diagnosis at your own pace, and access more information and services when you feel it is right for you to do so. You may require different types of help at different times. When you are ready, the Alzheimer Society of B.C. is here to provide information and support as you determine what is best for you and your family.

Last Updated: 11/08/2017