Woman caressing elderly woman.

I feel like I'm developing dementia

Forgetfulness, putting things in the wrong place, confusion...these can be the first signs of dementia. How do I handle it?

In her counselling sessions, Elisabeth Birklhuber regularly deals with people who think they are developing dementia. They realise that something is no longer right with their memory.

“First of all it’s important to seek professional support and clarify whether it can actually be diagnosed. Often the assumption is incorrect.” Increased stress or high-pressure situations could be the reason why you are forgetting things and facts that you used to know. If the diagnosis actually is dementia, you should learn more about the worries and concerns surrounding dementia. “For example, those affected often worry that they won’t be able to see their grandchildren anymore because they won’t be trusted to look after them. Fundamentally they worry about losing face and no longer being taken seriously.”

But worrying will make the dementia progress more, so it’s important to talk to someone you trust and/or a professional. You need to get answers to questions like: What are my concerns? Where does my fear come from? Do I have any experience with people with dementia? Who do I want to tell about it? What do I still trust myself to do, and what don’t I? How do I handle my anger about my perceived weakness? What could help? “If you're in this situation, try to communicate openly with your relatives about it. This is the only way to normalise the disease and take steps together”, recommends the counsellor.

You can make a free appointment at one of the numerous Austrian family counselling centres and talk to a trained counsellor in a protected environment. You can use the search function on our website to look for a suitable centre.

Our interview partner

Elisabeth Birklhuber is a marriage, family, life and social counsellor and supervisor. She works for auf.leben in Baden and Mödling, Lower Austria.

auf.leben Ehe-, Familien-, Lebensberatung
Beratungsstelle Mödling
Ferdinand-Buchberger Gasse 4
2340 Mödling
Website of auf.leben

The interview was conducted in Mai 2023.

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