“I do NOT have Alzheimer’s disease! There’s nothing wrong with me!”
If you’ve heard a senior loved one with dementia frustratingly voice this or perhaps a similar type of sentiment, you might have thought that individual was simply in denial and reluctant to accept a difficult diagnosis. The truth is, however, that often those with Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions are experiencing anosognosia – an unawareness of their impairment.
It can be difficult to decide the way to respond to a senior who seems to be unacquainted with his or her own cognitive functioning issues. The following tips may help family caregivers better relate to their loved one with Alzheimer’s disease and anosognosia:
- Keep in mind that the senior, although short of awareness within one area, is not necessarily dealing with total unawareness of his or her limitations. The individual may be unaware of the memory impairment caused by dementia, but possess full awareness of the physical limitations related to rheumatoid arthritis, for example.
- Expect to see fluctuations in the individual’s level of anosognosia. While he or she might seem to be totally unaware of a particular struggle at present, the degree of awareness might shift over time.
- Completely support the elderly person to convey his or her emotions, feelings and thoughts at all times without having judgment. It’s important for the senior to feel safe expressing any problems freely and honestly without feeling the need to conceal or cover them up.
Anosognosia, and other effects experienced by Alzheimer’s patients, such as sundowning, challenging behaviors, wandering, and aggression, can be very overwhelming, both for the person fighting these issues and his or her loved ones. It’s important for family members to look for a strong network of support and to educate themselves as much as possible about the disease and strategies for coping. It’s equally important for family members to reserve sufficient time for self-care.
Contact Atlanta Home Care Partners, providers of the highest quality home health care in Dunwoody and surrounding areas, for more tips on effectively managing the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, such as anosognosia, to let your senior loved one experience the best possible quality of life all of the time. We partner with family members to provide safe, experienced dementia care in Atlanta and the surrounding areas, allowing family caregivers the chance to step away for a period of time to relax and renew. Whether the need is for a few hours each week or full-time, around-the-clock care and attention, we’re on hand to help. Call us at 404.228.0103 or contact us online to learn more or to arrange for a free in-home consultation.