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Six Things People Living with Alzheimer’s and Other Dementia Want You to Know

Mike Lynch


  • Sharing insights from individuals living with early-stage Alzheimer's and other dementia aimes to dispel stigmas and misconceptions.
  • Six key points include emphasizing that the diagnosis doesn't define them, they prefer direct communication, yes younger people can have dementia, they request respect for the diagnosis (don't second guess it), sometimes their words or actions are not them it's their disease, and life goes on after the diagnosis.
Six Things People Living with Alzheimer’s and Other Dementia Want You to Know Trade

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People living with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia experience stigmas and stereotypes every day. Facing and overcoming stigma can be a significant challenge for individuals and families affected by Alzheimer’s disease.

This June, during Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, the Alzheimer’s Association is revealing insights from people living with early-stage dementia and what they wish others knew about living with Alzheimer's and other dementia.

Here are six things people living with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia want you to know:

  • My Alzheimer’s diagnosis does not define me. Although an Alzheimer’s diagnosis is life changing, many living with the disease say their diagnosis does not change who they are. Many diagnosed individuals say they want to continue doing the activities they enjoy for as long as possible and stay engaged with family and friends.
  • If you want to know how I am doing, just ask me. The sudden change in how others communicate with someone recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another dementia is a frustrating experience for many living with the disease. Many individuals say it can be upsetting when family and friends only check on the person through a spouse or an adult child. They say avoiding direct communication only makes them feel more isolated and alone.
  • Yes, younger people can have dementia. While the vast majority of Americans affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementia are age 65 and older, the disease can affect younger individuals. Those diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s (before age 65) say it is important for others to avoid the common misconception that Alzheimer’s and other dementia only affects older people and to take cognitive concerns seriously at any age.
  • Please don’t debate my diagnosis or tell me I don’t look like I have Alzheimer’s. While family members and friends may be well-intended in attempting to dismiss an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, many living with the disease say such responses can be offensive. If someone says they have been diagnosed with dementia, take them at their word.
  • Understand sometimes my words and actions are not me, it’s my disease. As Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia progresses, individuals can experience a wide range of disease-related behaviors, including anxiety, aggression, and confusion. Diagnosed individuals say it’s important for others to recognize disease-related symptoms, so they are better prepared to support the person and navigate communication and behavioral challenges.
  • An Alzheimer’s diagnosis does not mean my life is over. Earlier detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia is enabling diagnosed individuals more time to plan their futures and prioritize doing the things most important to them. Many people living with early-stage Alzheimer’s and dementia say they want to continue living active, fulfilling lives for as long as possible.

“The stigma surrounding Alzheimer’s and other dementia is due in a large part to a lack of public awareness and understanding of the disease,” said Monica Moreno, senior director, care and support, Alzheimer’s Association. “By shining a light on stigmas and misconceptions surrounding Alzheimer’s and other dementia, we can help people be more supportive of individuals and families affected by this devastating disease.”

To learn more about Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia and how you can support all those affected, visit or call its 24/7 Helpline (1.800.272.3900).