Posted on May 21, 2022 at 3:40 pm

Lifestyle Mental Health

How Dementia Can Affect A Family – And How to Cope

Presented by BetterHelp.

When it comes to helping a loved one through a physical or mental health condition, it’s important to have as much information as possible to help everyone involved work through it. This doesn’t just include having all of the facts about the condition itself. When the symptoms of dementia start showing in a loved one, it can affect everyone around them. That’s why it’s also crucial for you and your family to have healthy coping mechanisms

What is Dementia? 

While many people commonly associate dementia with memory loss, it’s not actually one singular condition. Instead, dementia is a classification of conditions that are characterized by the impairment of at least two brain functions, like memory loss and judgment. Other common symptoms appear in the form of difficulty communicating, trouble with reasoning, personality change, and occasionally paranoia or hallucinations. 


You may be familiar with a few conditions that are classified as dementia: Alzheimer’s Disease, Vascular Dementia, and even head trauma. An individual with any of these conditions can struggle to remember loved ones, mix up the present with the past, and confuse or misunderstand details. While conditions like Alzheimer’s Disease cannot be cured, there are illnesses that cause dementia-like symptoms for only a brief period of time, such as immune disorders and metabolic issues. 

Working Together

When you discover a loved one is experiencing symptoms of dementia, it can be stressful and scary. This is why it’s important to work together as a family to get them the help, support, and treatment they need for their condition. Because there are various causes for the symptoms of dementia, you first need to understand what condition the individual has. This will not only affect your options for treatment but it will also give you a better idea to start developing a plan to move forward. For example, if your parent or spouse is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, you need to begin preparing for how this can eventually affect the daily functions of your household. 


In order to ensure that your loved one has everything they need, you all need to be on the same page. While you may want to withhold certain information from younger or sensitive members of the family, it’s important to make sure they have the right amount of information so they understand what’s happening. This is also crucial if your loved one is affected by a condition that is life-long and terminal. Knowing what to expect and how they can help can give them the information they need to support their family members. 

Finding Support

Each member of your family should have a strong support system to help them cope with the emotions they’ll be experiencing through this time. A support system is a group of trusted individuals like friends, family, and mental health care professionals that provide a judgment-free environment for you to express yourself. When coping with the diagnosis of a dementia-related condition in a loved one, there can be a range of emotions and frustrations you’re trying to understand. Expressing yourself to these individuals can be a healthy way to layout your thoughts and concerns in a safe and comfortable environment. 

Counseling can not only be helpful for the individual affected by dementia symptoms but also provide support to the family as a whole. Whether it’s for each individual or together as a unit, seeing a mental health care professional can give your family the coping mechanisms they need to help each other and themselves. Many providers specialize in dementia and similar conditions and have the ability to coach you through developing patience and a routine that prioritizes self-care and understanding. Learn more about how you can find the right counselor with the online mental health resource BetterHelp.

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