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Telling Your Kids You’ve Been Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s

By Dian Brannen, 9:00 am on

An Alzheimer’s diagnosis can take time to accept, and it may be hard to share your health condition with your children at first. However, as a leading provider of Lehigh Valley Alzheimer’s care, we know firsthand it is best to explain what to expect to your loved ones as early as possible since it will help everyone plan for the future. As you prepare for your discussion, use these tips to keep the conversation positive.

Choose the Right Time and Place

As with any difficult conversation, it is important to plan your conversation around a time when everyone is free from stress or distractions. You may also find it easier to speak to one child at a time, or you may prefer to hold one family meeting. Be prepared to only share a little at a time, and return to the topic later if anyone has a strong reaction at first.

Provide Educational Information

Many people only know about Alzheimer’s from what they see in the media. Unfortunately, this often only shows end-stage symptoms that may not represent your current state of health. Educational brochures and news articles can help to dispel these myths while providing answers to many of the questions that your children will naturally have about the disease.

Be Prepared for Denial

Try to keep in mind that you have had some time to adjust to the news, and your children may initially react with denial. If this is the case, give them time to accept the diagnosis. In the early stages of Alzheimer’s many of the symptoms go unnoticed by others, or your children may have viewed them as simply a part of aging. Accompanying you to a medical appointment may also be an effective way to help them to deal with denial since your physician can provide professional documentation of your diagnosis.

Plan for the Future

The initial conversation may not be the ideal time to talk about long-term at-home care. However, you can provide ways for your children to help you cope as the disease progresses. Spend some time thinking about the care you prefer, and let your children know your preferences during future discussions. Remember, Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease that will contribute to changing needs as time passes. Regular, ongoing discussions with your children will ensure that everyone knows what to expect and how to provide you with the right type of support.

There’s no need to plan for the future alone. Reach out to Home Care Assistance to learn more about home care in the Lehigh Valley. Our compassionate and experienced Lehigh Valley caregivers can provide support and help clients maintain a high quality of life through every stage of the disease. Please give us a call at 484-350-3874 to learn more. We are here to help.