Hilary and her husband Peter discuss Hilary's dementia diagnosis. Hilary and Peter appear as part of The dementia guide. Watch this film to hear their story.

The dementia guide is for anyone who has recently been told they have dementia. This could be any type of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia or mixed dementia. It will also be useful to close friends and family of someone with dementia, as it contains information for anyone taking on a caring role.

A diagnosis of dementia can cause a range of emotions. The news might come as a shock, or, for some people, it may bring a sense of relief as it provides an explanation for the problems they have been experiencing. It can also have a big impact on family and friends.

If you, or someone close to you, have recently been diagnosed with dementia, you might be feeling angry, frustrated, worried, fearful, sad, embarrassed, lonely, guilty or even relieved. Everyone is different, but all these reactions are possible at different times and they are all normal. How you feel will probably vary from one day to the next.

If you can, talk to friends and family about how you're feeling. Other people need to understand what you're going through. They might be finding things hard too, so talking can help both you and them. There are also specialist health and social care professionals you can talk to for support.

You may find these Alzheimer's Society services – http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/documents_info.php?documentID=2236 and other useful organisations http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/documents_info.php?documentID=2237 helpful for further information and support.

If you'd like to talk about the information in this guide, please phone Alzheimer's Society's National Dementia Helpline on 0300 222 1122 – calls are charged at a low-cost rate.

The Helpline is for anyone affected by dementia and is open 9am–5pm Monday–Friday and 10am–4pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Trained helpline advisers can provide you with information, support, guidance and signposting to other appropriate organisations.

Throughout this guide you will see suggestions for Alzheimer's Society factsheets http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/factsheets. You can order these by phone on 0300 303 5933 or email [email protected]

For factsheets specific to Northern Ireland, please contact your local Alzheimer's Society office.

It's important to know that you aren't alone – about 800,000 people in the UK have dementia. It's possible to live well with dementia and there is support available for you and your family.

This guide has been produced by Alzheimer's Society with support and funding from the Department of Health.

Thank you to Lloyds Banking Group for supporting The dementia guide in 2014 and 2015.

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Who are we?

Alzheimer's Society is the leading support and research charity for people with dementia, their families and carers.

What is dementia?

The term 'dementia' is used to describe the symptoms that occur when the brain is affected by specific diseases and conditions. Symptoms of dementia include loss of memory, confusion and problems with speech and understanding.

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If you have concerns about Alzheimer's disease or about any other form of dementia, please contact the Alzheimer's Society National Dementia Helpline on 0300 222 1122.

Alzheimer's Society
Leading the fight against dementia

Early onset Alzheimer's disease – Hilary's story: The dementia guide

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