Dealing with Anosognosia: When a Senior Doesn’t Realize They Have Dementia

senior man confused
Sometimes a senior may not recognize that they have dementia. Here’s how to help.

“How on earth could you think that I have dementia? There is not a thing wrong with me!”

If an aging loved one with dementia voices statements such as this, you might be thinking to yourself that the senior is just in denial and reluctant to admit to such a challenging diagnosis. Nevertheless, there may be another reason: anosognosia, or someone’s true unawareness that he/she is affected by dementia.

Identifying the best way to react when a senior doesn’t realize they have dementia isn’t easy. Our team, experts in dementia care in Denton, TX and surrounding areas, has compiled several recommendations to help family caregivers more effectively care for a loved one with anosognosia:

  • Recognize that the senior with dementia, while unaware of this one particular area, isn’t necessarily experiencing complete unawareness of his or her state of being. The senior might not be aware of the memory impairment brought on by dementia, but still maintain complete understanding of his/her physical limitations related to osteoarthritis, for instance.
  • Plan for changes in the senior’s extent of anosognosia. While the older person may seem to be fully unaware of a certain struggle at the moment, the degree of awareness can change over time.
  • Offer complete support to the individual by permitting conversations about his/her emotions, feelings, and thoughts without judgment. It is vital for the senior to be comfortable in articulating any concerns openly and honestly without feeling the need to cover them up.

Anosognosia, and other effects of dementia, including sundowning, wandering, difficult behaviors, and aggression, can be extremely overwhelming, both for the older person living with these problems and for his or her loved ones. Family caregivers need to seek out a reliable network of support and to educate themselves as much as possible about the disease, along with techniques for most effectively managing it. It is also important to be sure to allow plenty of time for self-care.

Contact Heaven at Home Senior Care, top providers of dementia care in Denton and surrounding areas, for further tips on Alzheimer’s care, including anosognosia, ensuring the senior you love enjoys the best possible quality of life at all times. We work with families to supply compassionate, highly skilled respite care services, allowing family caregivers the chance to step away for a period of time to relax. Whether the senior could benefit from several hours of care each week or full-time, around-the-clock specialized dementia care, we are always available to help. Call us at (940) 380-0500 to learn more, to find out if our services are available in your area, and to schedule a free in-home assessment.