January 11, 2018 by Dean Bellefeuille

dementia care

“I do NOT have Alzheimer’s disease! There isn’t anything wrong with me!”

If you’ve ever heard a friend or family member with dementia frustratingly communicate this or perhaps a very similar sentiment, it’s possible you have believed that individual was merely in denial and not willing to accept a tough diagnosis. The truth is, however, that oftentimes people who have dementia are experiencing anosognosia – an unawareness of their impairment.

It can be tough to figure out a sensible way to respond to a senior who seems to be unacquainted with his or her own cognitive functioning difficulties. The following tips can assist family caregivers better relate to their senior loved one with Alzheimer’s disease and anosognosia:

  • Realize that the senior, although lacking in awareness within one area, isn’t necessarily dealing with complete unawareness of his or her limitations. The elderly person might be unaware of the memory impairment because of dementia, but have full awareness of the physical limitations related to rheumatoid arthritis, for example.
  • Count on fluctuations in the senior’s level of anosognosia. While he or she might seem to be entirely unaware of a specific challenge at present, the level of awareness may shift over time.
  • Completely support the elderly person to talk about his or her emotions, feelings and thoughts at all times without judgment. It is crucial for the person to feel comfortable revealing any worries freely and truthfully without feeling the need to hide or cover them up.

Anosognosia, and other characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease , such as sundowning, challenging behaviors, wandering, and aggression, can be very difficult, both for the adult dealing with these issues and his or her loved ones. It’s crucial for family to look for a strong community of support and to educate themselves as much as possible in regards to disease and tips for managing. It is equally important for family members to allow plenty of time for self-care .

Contact At Home Independent Living for more advice 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 consistently. We partner with individuals and their families to provide safe, knowledgeable respite care services, allowing family caregivers the chance to step away for a period of time to relax and revitalize. Whether the need is for a few hours each week or full-time, around-the-clock care, we’re on hand to assist. Call us at 315.579.HOME to learn more or to arrange for a free in-home consultation for dementia care in Syracuse, NY .