If an aging loved one with dementia has voiced beliefs such as this, you may have thought to yourself that he or she was just in denial and reluctant to acknowledge such a concerning diagnosis. However, there may be another reason: anosognosia, or a person’s genuine unawareness that he/she is impaired by dementia.
Identifying the right way to reply to a senior who is not familiar with the personal difficulties being experienced with cognitive functioning can be difficult. Our aging care team has put together the following recommendations to help family caregivers better care for an older adult with anosognosia:
• Understand that the older person with dementia, while lacking in awareness of this one particular area, is not necessarily experiencing complete unawareness of his or her state of being. The older person may not be aware of the memory impairment brought on by dementia, but still maintain complete understanding of his/her physical limitations related to arthritis, for example.
• Be prepared for changes in the senior’s extent of anosognosia. While the individual may seem to be totally unaware of a particular challenge at the moment, the degree of awareness can shift over time.
• Provide full support to the senior by enabling discussions about his/her emotions, feelings, and thoughts without judgment. It is vital for the senior to feel comfortable in expressing any concerns openly and honestly without feeling it necessary to cover them up.
Anosognosia, and other effects of Alzheimer’s disease, including sundowning, wandering, concerning behaviors, and aggression, can be extremely difficult, both for the senior living with these problems and for his or her family members. Family caregivers need a dependable network of support and to learn as much as possible about the disease, along with techniques for most effectively managing it. It is also vitally important to be sure to designate adequate time for self-care.
Contact the professionals at CareFor for help with Austin dementia challenges, including anosognosia, ensuring the older person you love enjoys the best possible quality of life at all times. We work with families to provide compassionate, highly skilled respite care services, allowing family caregivers the opportunity to get away for a period of time to relax. Whether the older adult could benefit from several hours of care each week or full-time, live-in specialized dementia care, we are always available to help.
Call us at (512) 338-4533 to learn more about our specialized dementia care and in home care in Austin and the surrounding area. For more information about all of the areas we serve in Texas, please visit our Service Area page.