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Why Families Sometimes Keep an Alzheimer’s Diagnosis Secret

By Jennifer Thompson, 9:00 am on

A an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can be far-reaching in terms of how it affects not only the person receiving the diagnosis, but their family members and friends. Nashville senior care professionals find that some families choose to keep the initial diagnosis secret for one or more of the following reasons:

Fear of How Others Will React

Your loved one may insist on keeping their diagnosis known to only a few close family members out of fear of how others will react or concern about becoming a burden. Consider taking the following steps when you and your loved one decide to break the news to others:

• Setting up a support system of family caregivers or professional Alzheimer’s caregivers
• Taking time to educate others on what can be expected with Alzheimer’s disease
• Encouraging younger family members (especially kids and teens) to ask questions so they understand how to act around your loved one

Feelings of Embarrassment

Some families choose to keep an Alzheimer’s diagnosis a secret due to feelings of embarrassment. This sometimes includes being cautious with where you take your loved one in public. While these feelings are understandable, ultimately it’s best to let your loved one decide what’s comfortable for them without worrying about what others might think.

Wanting to Avoid Family Scrabbles

Some family members may not want to help out because of existing obligations, leading to potential confrontations over who will do what in terms of caring for your loved one. There may also be scrabbles over what treatments to try, who should be the primary caregiver, and legal documents like wills and advanced directives.

Due to the progressive nature of the condition, it’s not easy to keep a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s secret for too long. Realize that other family members and friends are likely to suspect that something’s wrong, so there will come a point when everyone will have to be let in on the secret.

If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and you are sure what happens next, turn to Home Care Assistance. We are a trusted provider of Alzheimer’s and dementia care in Nashville, and can help you loved one with daily tasks, provide safety monitoring, and offer companionship and emotional support. Call a friendly Care Manager at (615) 656-4999 for  more information.