Hello, how long does the initial shock of diagnosis last for?


Registered User
Jun 25, 2008
Hi, this is my first post, after a couple of years of knowing that Mum is not well, and finally getting her to the doctors, and a neurology clinic for a CT scan, we have been told today that her symptoms are consistent with Alzheimers, although she needs to see a Psychiatrist in the next couple of weeks.

I thought gettting the diagnosis would be the hard part but we are all in shock having it finally confirmed and now having to face an unknown journey. Being the main person in the family to push for the diagnosis I feel quite guilty now it has come to light and am really worried about how my Dad has taken the news. Mum is only 67 and Dad is already under a lot of stress trying to cope with her daily. I am hoping this initial feeling of shock and guilt will go away quite quickly, especially if I try and carry on with my normal routine! Has anybody else had these feelings and/or any suggestions of how we can cope initially with the news?


Registered User
Mar 7, 2004
Hello shorty, and welcome to TP.

I am sorry to read about your mum. Of course it has been a shock, the diagnosis always is somehow, even when you may have had suspicions beforehand.

Please try to remember that mum is the same as she was yesterday.
Try not to look upon the future as all bleak. Enjoy life with mum and dad as much as possible, and try to encourage them to do the same.

That is not to say 'bury your head in the sand', but try to be rational. Visit us here whenever you have a specific question to ask, or just browse. Someone is usually around.

Please don't feel overwhelmed. Try to be kind to yourself.
It is a long journey.


Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
I am hoping this initial feeling of shock and guilt will go away quite quickly, especially if I try and carry on with my normal routine!
Yes that does help keeping you normal routine , but you can't hide or run away from them, acknowledging those feeling forgiving yourself for being so hard on yourself and recognizing that its just a Natural progression of a living grief help me along this journey to except what was happening to my mother

I found it very hard living in the moment enjoying a memory of happy moment with my mother with out flashes of bleakness for the future popping into my mind afterwards as then then I would cry .

But I found living in the present moment more help full in me coping with life in general with my mother also having a camera near by to capture that moment in time , because in an blink of an eye its gone & when I was ready to look at those photo without so much sorrow sadness , they made me remind myself of mother I onces new giving me comfort not tears .
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Registered User
Nov 16, 2007
East Midlands
Hello Shorty,

Welcome to TP!....:)

now having to face an unknown journey.
OK..Alzheimers is an unknown journey...for all of us...but nothing happens that quickly..you have time to adapt..and enjoy the time you are having now. Early diagnosis is good..you as a family have time to prepare..but please don't let that cloud the life you already have..try not to treat your mum any differently because of the diagnosis.
It's a shock...you must not feel guilty..you did not cause this..

You are being sensible ..take it one day at a time...and accept the help and advice that comes your way.

TP is always here for you..ask anything..we all do..it's a good place to be..

Love gigi xx


Registered User
Aug 29, 2006
SW Scotland
Hi Shorty, welcome tp TP.

It is a shock, isn't it? Even though you know inside you what it is, there's still that glimmer of hope........

Sorry you're feeling so devastated. My husband John was also 67 when he was diagnosed. He's almost 75 now, and in an EMI care home. It's a very good home, but it's awful not having him with me.

But we had seven good years before this decline, and hopefully you'll have good times ahead with your mum.

As Connie says, try not to look too far ahead. Just enjoy your mum as much as you can, take photos, build up some happy memories.

And when problems arise, come here. There's so much support here, and such a wealth of experience, you'll soon feel among friends.

All the best,


Registered User
Mar 23, 2006
Hi Shorty.
Welcome to TP. I am sorry your worst fears were confirmed with a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, the positive side is that the earlier you get a diagnosis it is better for sorting out available treatment. No two cases of dementia are the same but here on TP people have come across similar symtoms and will be able to give you advice or just somewhere to voice your concerns.
take care



Registered User
Jun 25, 2008
Thank you all

Many many thanks for all of your responses have had a lovely afternoon with Mum helping to wash her hair and watching her laugh with my 5 year old. I am definately going to take the advice about taking photographs and enjoying life as it is now.

I think yesterday was particularly difficult because I had to break the news to the family as an earlier appointment with the GP attended by Mum and Dad had not been clear and they came away thinking there was nothing wrong. It was only afterwards when I spoke to the GP to check (because I couldn't believe it!) that she explained the situation and apologised for not making it clear to Mum and Dad. So think I was feeling really responsible and not enjoying being the bearer of bad news.

Thanks for a fabulous website and will continue to check-in with TP.


Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
Returning to your original question "how long does the initial shock of diagnosis last for? "

For me... forever..:(


Registered User
Jun 25, 2008
Dear Brucie, I feel sad by your post, but appreciate the sentiment of what you say. Your work as a moderator is fantastic and the forum is so supportive. I hope you have found the support you need.

Take care and nobody can take away your memories x


Registered User
Feb 13, 2008
HI there
I don't think I've overcome the shock as yet with my dad but I am trying very hard to. And the guilt that goes with it is just unbearable. But through talking to the lovely people here on the site and being told in no uncertain terms to let go of the guilt its finally starting to happen.
I don't think it will ever go away as I also asked for the diagnosis but at least now I can sort of lock it away for a while at least. This way it enables me to try to get some normality back into my life.
Love AndreaX

ps - keep talking


Registered User
Mar 1, 2007
Melbourne, Australia
hi shorty, It took me a couple of years to come to terms with my mums diagnosis..
we had of course, suspected alz, and the day she was prescribed aricept I sobbed for hours and as much as I tried to prepare myself for her decline...it was very hard.
Now, I try to live life as mum would have wished me to.
she would not have wanted me to fall apart cause of her alz.
my mum is in the latter stages of alz

Brucie, how is Jan these days?
unless I have missed a post/thread, you have not mentioned her condition for some time?

Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
Toronto, Canada
Hi Shorty,
I cried every day for the first 3 months or so. I think for a few months after that I kept hoping it was all a bad dream & one day my mother would be back.

One of the things that helped me cope was going to a support group. That was the biggest factor in my acceptance of what happened to us.

It really does become easier to cope with as time goes on. The human mind has a great capacity to recover, if we allow it to. Not to say I don't have bad days, railing against the universe. That's to be expected. But I am much more at peace with myself than I was at the beginning. There is nothing we can do to change the course of the disease. All we can do is care for our loved one, love them intensely, try to make them happy and make happy memories for ourselves.