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Educating and Empowering: Redefining How to Talk About Dementia



Receiving a diagnosis of dementia is never easy. It is the start of a difficult rollercoaster of fear, anxiety, uncertainty, grief, and more, all of which are heightened if the diagnosis is conveyed starkly, without compassion or empathy. Knowing how to talk about dementia can be tricky, however. There are steps physicians can (and should) take when delivering a dementia diagnosis to ease the initial impact, empowering and equipping the individual and family with knowledge and support.


Below are a few of the ways physicians are attempting to improve how they talk about dementia, and why it matters.


  1. Start With Empathy: As opposed to jumping right to statistics and medical jargon, doctors are now starting conversations with understanding and empathy. They understand the emotional impact of a dementia diagnosis and strive to create a safe space for patients and their family members to talk about their concerns and fears. Along with this empathetic approach, physicians are also supporting open dialogue about the practical aspects of managing dementia, including daily routines and available support services.

  2. Education as Empowerment: Doctors are moving towards an educational approach, arming patients and families with knowledge about dementia. By explaining the condition in accessible language and providing resources for further learning, they empower individuals to better navigate the journey ahead. There's also a focus on the importance of proactive measures, such as lifestyle adjustments and early intervention strategies, to improve quality of life and delay the progression of the disease.

  3. Person-Centered Caregiving: Acknowledging that every person's experience with dementia is unique, doctors are shifting towards a person-centered approach to care. Ideally, they are engaging patients in discussions about their goals, preferences, and values, making sure care plans are designed to the person's needs and wishes. This individualized approach extends beyond medical treatment to cover holistic support, including emotional well-being and social connectedness, fostering a sense of dignity and autonomy.

  4. Supportive Networks: Doctors are increasingly connecting patients and families with supportive networks and resources within the community. Whether it's caregiver support groups, dementia-friendly activities, or specialized services, these networks provide vital emotional and practical support throughout the dementia journey. Medical professionals should also be advocating for the involvement of family caregivers in care planning and decision-making, recognizing their invaluable role in providing continuity of care and enhancing the person’s quality of life.

  5. Ongoing Communication: The conversation doesn't end with the initial diagnosis. Doctors need to be committed to ongoing communication with patients and families, providing updates on the advancement of the disease, discussing treatment options, and offering support every step of the way. This ongoing dialogue fosters collaboration and trust, empowering individuals and their families to make educated decisions and adapt to the evolving challenges of dementia caregiving.


If you suspect a senior loved one may be in the early stages of dementia, or if they have recently been diagnosed, it is crucial to find a physician that follows best practices such as these. It’s just as important to partner with a home care provider with specialized expertise in the unique needs of caring for someone with dementia.


At The Care Company, our dementia care team is fully trained, highly skilled, and well known as the experts in North York, Scarborough, Toronto and the nearby areas. Our innovative approach to care promotes respect, independence, and dignity. Call us at (416) 422-2273 or reach out to us online to learn more.

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