By Anne Basting for Next Avenue
When you receive a serious medical diagnosis, it can feel as though that diagnosis replaces your identity. I am no longer myself — instead, now I am cancer, or heart attack or dementia.
But even when we carry a diagnosis, we also continue to live our lives. We are more than our diseases and care plans.
People can live as long as 20 years with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Family and professional caregivers, as well as community members, need tools to ensure that people with Alzheimer’s can be more than their disease. But how? Conversation can be challenging, in person and by phone. How can we stay connected and foster what has come to be called the “personhood” of someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s?