People experience a mixture of emotions upon learning they have mild cognitive impairment or dementia. If you or someone you know is dealing with that news, this brochure will be helpful. It is written by those living with dementia, for individuals also living with a diagnosis. Click the link below to download it to read or print.
Developed with funding from and in partnership with
Diagnosed with Cognitive Impairment (Memory Loss)?
What you need to know…
The information on this page was written by persons living with dementia. All the videos are from conversations with individuals diagnosed with Cognitive Impairment, Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia.
Feelings Experienced After Diagnosis
People often experience a mixture of feelings and emotions when they are initially told they have mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia. These might include a sense of disbelief, feeling overwhelmed, or fear about possible consequences. But a diagnosis can also bring relief to finally understand the symptoms.
“The day I was diagnosed, I remember being flooded with emotions. In time, I found myself learning more about myself and the skills I needed to help me adjust.”
— Frank, diagnosed 11 years
Coping with a Diagnosis
- Give yourself time to process the diagnosis.
- Try to identify the emotions you are feeling and share with someone you are comfortable confiding in
- Connect with others living with dementia through local support groups.
- Empower yourself by taking responsibility for learning about your diagnosis to the degree you are able.
“We need words of encouragement. It’s ok to seek help from professionals like a psychia-trist to deal with the diagnosis.”
— Avi, diagnosed 6 years
Diversity of Symptoms
The experience of each person diagnosed with MCI or dementia is unique to each individual.
People diagnosed with cognitive impairment may notice a variety of symptoms such as :
- Memory loss
- Difficulty with speech and word finding
- Trouble thinking, problem solving and multi-tasking
- Easily distracted and troubles completing tasks
- Movement, coordination and balance difficulties
The symptoms and the degree to which you experience them normally vary day to day.
“The medical field is making breakthroughs which is giving us a lot of hope.”
— Ken, diagnosed 7 years
Tips for Living Well with Dementia
- Mediterranean Diet
- Meditate/Observe Mindfulness/Prayer
- Minimize Stress
- Simplify your Life
- Practice Good Sleep Habits
- Create a safe living environment to minimize the risk of falls or injury.
- Surround yourself with supportive people.
- Learn about Community Resources
- Continue to engage in new activities and challenge yourself as you are able.
Stigma is the negative feelings people may have toward a diagnosis of dementia. Stigma is often rooted in fear, a lack of understanding about a disease, or bad experiences.
“We all have challenges, it just means we need to pull together to get through.”
— Rudy, diagnosed 8 years
Strategies to Overcome Stigma
Educate friends and family by first educating yourself.
Accept that some people may need time to process and understand your diagnosis. Forgive others who may not be aware how their response to stigma might negatively effect you.
Have a sense of humor and learn to laugh at your short comings when faced with stigma.
“I chose to combat stigma by making my di-agnosis public and living my life fully in the face of Alzheimer’s disease.”
— Brenda, diagnosed 7 years
We are living well with dementia, and so can you.
We are a group of individuals with diverse backgrounds brought together through Alzheimer’s Tennessee Memory Cafe and our shared experience of living with dementia. Our purpose for writing this pamphlet is to help others adjust to a diagnosis and ultimately to live with a better sense of well-being.
“Never, never, never give up.”
— Doug B., diagnosed 4 years
“There are many blessings that come to us through this diagnosis, including wonderful people who are genuine and caring who come into our lives.”
— Mike, diagnosed 12 years