Each person reacts differently to the idea of telling people about their diagnosis of dementia. Some people want everyone to know, while others want to tell only a few people or keep it to themselves. This is a personal decision and should be made after you have looked at the pros and cons of each option.
Knowing who to tell, what to tell, how, and when can be challenging. You may want to consider sharing your diagnosis with others who can help. Sharing your diagnosis can help you begin to make plans for the future and open doors for others to support you. Family, friends, faith leaders, legal and financial advisors may be able to give helpful input during this time.
Below we share some tips if you are considering sharing your diagnosis with others.
Who to tellMost people choose to tell the people who are closest to them first. A spouse or partner, children, other family members and close friends are examples of the people who may know you best. You would likely want these people to be aware of this change in your life, just as you would with any major illness.
Telling children and teens about your diagnosis may seem like a frightening conversation. The Alzheimer Society of B.C. offers support on understanding how a child or teenager may be feeling after learning about your diagnosis and how you can support them.
Learn more about talking to children and teens about dementia.
What to tell
- Tell people as much as you are comfortable with.
- Let people know how you want to be treated.
- If you need support, ask for it.
- Let friends and family members know if you need some space.
- Encourage people to learn more about the disease.
Receiving individual support from staff at your local Alzheimer Resource Centre or talking to others affected by the disease may help you start some conversations with friends and family.
Your local resource centre may also be able to connect you with a support group for people who are in the early stages of living with dementia. This may be a unique opportunity for you to share your experiences with others who are empathetic and understanding.