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dmp1127,

I am sorry to hear that your husband has been diagnosed with dementia. It is a hard situation for anyone that has to suffer through this. Our AgingCare editors know how difficult of a coping situation this is for caregivers and their family. We have created a whole Alzheimer's and Dementia section to answer all your questions, find any resource, and cope with other caregivers like you. (https://www.agingcare.com/Alzheimers-Dementia).

I have also found two articles that might give you a good start with this new diagnosis and how to cope with dementia.

Dealing with an Alzheimer’s Diagnosis
https://www.agingcare.com/articles/Dealing-with-an-Alzheimers-Diagnosis-133325.htm

and

The Stigma of Alzheimer's and Dementia: How to Cope
https://www.agingcare.com/articles/dementia-alzheimers-disease-stigma-141484.htm

Best of Luck.
Karie H.
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This is an extremely difficult diagnosis for both of you. My hubby and I went through that almost nine years ago. I've met other spouses who faced this horrible diagnois in my support group. I don't think there is any way to sugarcoat it or make it not hurt. Here are a few suggestions I offer from my experience. Each case is different, so just take what seems like it might apply to your case.
1. Don't push your hubby to accept more than he is prepared to faster than he is prepared to. Denial is a valid coping mechanism. I think that acceptance makes many things easier, but it can't be forced.
2. Denial isn't a good option for you, the caregiver. Learn all you can about dementia, and about the particular kind of dementia your husband probably has. It is extremely helpful to realize that certain behaviors and symptoms are common and not peculiar to your husband.
3. Take advantage of whatever time you have now to do "normal" things, and things you've wanted to do but have put off for whatever reason. We took another cruise not long after diagnosis, when drug therapy helped stabilize the symptoms. I am very glad we did that. We've seen the Grand Canyon and Glacier National Park since the diagnosis. Such grand scale travel is beyond us now, but we still take short trips. None of us live forever, but a diagnosis like this really drives home the value of enjoying the moment.
4. Join a caregivers' support group. You are not alone, and it is helpful to discuss your situation with others who truly know what you are going through.
5. See an elder care lawyer and get the legal things like healthcare directives and POa taken care of. One less burden weighing you down.
6. Don't make promises for a future you cannot predict, but to make unconditional assurances. In my opinion, it is best not to say "I promise I'll keep you home forever." Instead promise, "I will always love you, always take care of you, always be your advocate."
7. My mantra became "This is the disease speaking. This is not my husband." You have to learn not to take dementia-driven behavior persoanlly.

This diagnosis is devastating. But it doesn't mean that the good times are all over. And the love is definitely not over.

Best wishes to you both as you struggle on this new path together.
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