Telling people about your dementia diagnosis

Dementia will affect many areas of your life, including your relationships. However, there are ways to prepare for and adapt to these changes. Talk to people about your diagnosis when you’re ready. Be honest and let them know how you’re feeling.

Will dementia affect my relationships?

Relationships are important for all of us. Our connections with other people help to improve our wellbeing, give us comfort and support, and maintain our sense of identity.

Dementia will affect many areas of your life, including your relationships. However, there are ways to prepare for and adapt to these changes.

The people around you may have supported you in the past – for example, they may have helped you with practical things or given you advice. These same people may still be able to help you now that you have dementia.

Over time, relationships with different people change for a variety of reasons. Dementia can also cause changes in relationships. It can be difficult for you and the people around you to adjust and it may take some time.

However dementia affects what you say and do, you are still you. You have your own feelings and ways of doing things. Your experience of dementia will be different from everyone else’s. It may be helpful to let people in your life know this too.

How should I tell people about my dementia diagnosis?

When you’ve been told you have dementia, you may have close relatives or friends who you want to turn to first. There may be others who you feel it’s important to tell.

Talk to these people about your diagnosis when you’re ready. Be honest and let them know how you’re feeling. For most people, talking is a good way of coping with emotions.

How might people respond when I tell them I have dementia?

How different people respond to your diagnosis will depend on their personality and also whether they have experienced dementia with other people. Keep this in mind when you’re talking about your diagnosis. You’ll find your own way of having each conversation that feels comfortable to you.

When you were first told you have dementia, you may have felt a range of different emotions. When you tell other people about your diagnosis for the first time, they may feel a range of emotions too, including shock, sadness or fear. Any feelings will be individual to the person – there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way for people to feel about your dementia.

Some people you are close to may even feel reassured to know why you’ve been having difficulties and that you have options for support. You might know people who find that humour makes things – including your dementia – easier to talk about. 

What support can I get for coping with my diagnosis?

You might find it helpful to talk to a professional about your thoughts and feelings. Ask someone involved in your support, such as a GP or community nurse, to help you find someone who can help you to adjust. You may also want to involve someone important to you, such as a partner or friend, in these conversations. Or you can call our Dementia Connect support line on 0333 150 3456.

'If you can’t get help from your family, try to get help from the professionals.’


Person living with dementia

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