Anosognosia: What It Is and How It Can Go Hand in Hand with Dementia

by JFS Care

“I don’t have dementia There isn’t anything wrong with me!”

If perhaps you’ve ever heard a senior loved one with dementia frustratingly express this or a very similar sentiment, it’s possible you have assumed that individual was just in denial and reluctant to come to grips with a difficult diagnosis. The truth is, however, that often individuals with dementia and other conditions are experiencing anosognosia – an unawareness of their impairment.

It can be difficult to decide the ideal way to respond to a loved one who seems to be unaware of his or her own cognitive functioning difficulties. The tips below may help family caregivers better relate to their senior loved one with Alzheimer’s disease and anosognosia:

    • Realize that the senior, although short of awareness within one area, is not necessarily dealing with total unawareness of his or her health status. The individual could be unaware of the memory impairment brought on by dementia, but have full awareness of the physical constraints related to rheumatoid arthritis, for example.
    • Anticipate changes in the senior’s level of anosognosia. While he or she might appear to be completely unaware of a specific struggle at this moment, the amount of awareness could shift after a while.
    • Completely support the senior to talk about his or her emotions, thoughts and feelings at all times free of judgment. It’s crucial for the individual to feel comfortable revealing any problems freely and truthfully without feeling the desire to hide or cover them up.

Anosognosia, and other elements of Alzheimer’s disease, like sundowning, challenging behaviors, wandering, and aggression, can be quite difficult, both for the individual struggling with these problems and his or her loved ones. It is important for family to search out a strong network of support and to educate themselves as much as possible in regards to the disease and tips for managing it. It is also important for family caregivers to allow sufficient time for self-care.

Contact JFS Care’s experts in dementia care in Santa Monica CA and the surrounding areas for more useful information on effectively managing the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, such as anosognosia, to allow your senior loved one to experience the highest possible quality of life at all times. We partner with family members to offer safe, knowledgeable dementia care in Santa Monica, CA and the surrounding communities, allowing family care providers the opportunity to step away for a length of time to rest and revitalize. Whether the need is for a few hours each week or full-time, around-the-clock care, we’re available to help. Call us at (213) 383-2273 to learn more or to arrange for a free in-home consultation.

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