Conversations After the Diagnosis

This morning, on Your Caregiving Journey, Holly, who cares for her husband, Dave, joined me for Table Talk. You can listen to our show via the player, below.

Holly spoke about conversations she and Dave had had after the diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia and about end-of-life. Holly shared her thoughts about how to respond when a caree talks about a diagnosis and death. When Dave talks about dying because of his diagnosis, she responds truthfully. She doesn’t sugar coat the situation by telling him he’s not going to die. Her core value is the truth, so she speaks truthfully about his prognosis.

We also spoke about how doctors can do more to help a family caregiver and caree when talking about a diagnosis. Dave’s doctor discussed the diagnosis, told them there’s nothing he can do. He then shared a pamphlet from the Alzheimer’s Association. That was it.

We talked about how helpful it would have been if Dave and Holly had been introduced to others in a similar situation, how comforting it would have been to know they weren’t alone and that they would be okay. (Note: We’re recruiting former family caregivers to volunteer for just these situations. If you are a former family caregiver interested in volunteering to help one of today’s family caregivers, either in person, on the phone or via email, then go here for details.)

I’d love to know: What conversations did you have with your caree after a diagnosis? What kind of experience did you have with doctors and health care professionals when your caree received a diagnosis? Please share your experiences in our comments section, below.

Reminders: Solitaire Showdown is Sunday (January 15) from 1 p.m. ET until 5 p.m. ET. High score at 5 p.m. ET wins $50. Details are here. If you work and provide care, be sure to download our free e-book, The Working Family Caregiver, here.


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About Denise Brown

I began working with family caregivers in 1990 and launched in 1996 to help and support them. Through my blog, I share words of comfort and offer coping strategies and tips. I also write opinion pieces about recent research, community programs and media coverage of caregiving issues. I've written several caregiving books, including "The Caregiving Years, Six Stages to a Meaningful Journey," "Take Comfort, Reflections of Hope for Caregivers" and "After Caregiving Ends, A Guide to Beginning Again." You can purchase my books and schedule a coaching call with me in our store.

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