In the United States alone, 500,000 people will learn they have Alzheimer’s disease this year. Not to mention the multitude of other forms of dementia that will be diagnosed. Nobody wants to hear that they or their loved ones have dementia. The continuous and ultimately fatal decline is devastating to go through and to witness. But at the same time, planning for life with dementia can ease the burden. And it may even leave room for happiness and joy as well.

Living life with dementia can be scary and confusing. There is no benefit in being in denial of a dementia diagnosis. Yet according to this U.S. News article, always make sure other potential causes are ruled out. Medication side effects, thyroid issues, and depression can all mimic symptoms of dementia. But even if dementia is the final diagnosis, you can have peace of mind knowing that other causes are ruled out.

Another topic to consider is housing. Many people are still in the earlier phases of their disease. Therefore, they can still safely live at home, either with in-home caregivers or independently. On the other hand, there’s always a possibility that your needs will change later on. Find out what options are available in your community. Or make sure your home is safe and ready for aging in place. Plan ahead.

Above all, make room for joy in your life with dementia. A diagnosis does not need to mean your life is over. Dementia is a frightening disease, and one we all hope to never encounter. While there may be things you can’t do anymore, there is always something you can do to enjoy life.

Music is a great outlet and activity for those with dementia, and research shows how beneficial it can be. Or if you have always loved gardening, find a community garden that welcomes people of all abilities. While nothing will currently cure dementia, there is absolutely no reason to stop doing what you love. Country music legend Glen Campbell is a great example of this. Every life needs some joy and happiness, regardless of the diagnosis.