Alzheimer’s is a serious disease that is unpredictable and can take a toll on family members and caregivers, especially when there is memory loss and denial. Unfortunately, memory loss and denying the disease is quite common in dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. Sadly, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, 81% of people with Alzheimer’s have what is called anosognosia, where the patient does not think they’re suffering a disease at all.
What is Anosognosia?
What exactly is anosognosia, you might be asking? To put it simply, it is the complete lack of awareness that one is impaired. Anosognosia occurs when the frontal lobes of the brain is damaged or deteriorate. This is common after stroke, traumatic brain injuries, and also affects people with dementia and Alzheimer’s. Anosognosia can make it difficult to reason with your loved one because they do not believe they have an illness. Click To TweetSo, how do you help manage this challenging behavior? Here are some good tips on how to cope when your loved one has anosognosia.
To help your loved one in this situation, it is best to minimize their responsibilities. Providing assistance helps keep them safe. It is usually suggested that you take over any cooking, cleaning, and transportation needs. Make sure to downplay the decrease the changes in their everyday responsibilities by using a positive approach.
Always Be Positive
Keeping positive is necessary in helping your loved one dealing with cognitive decline and anosognosia. Use gentle and encouraging words and try to enter their reality instead of trying to rationalize the situation.
Always practice patience when caring for a patient suffering dementia or anosognosia. Use an empathetic and soft voice and focus on your loved one’s concerns. Stay calm and again, always articulate your thoughts in a positive manner.
Keeping your loved one on a set schedule in their daily life is essential to helping them (and you) cope with their disease and memory problems. Set up a structured schedule of tasks such as personal care time, dinner time, bedtime and times for activities, too.
Ask For Assistance
It’s okay to ask for help. Caring for someone dealing with dementia and anosognosia can be challenging and sometimes it is best to let others step in and take over some of the caregiving duties. Talk to your family physician or consider taking your loved one to a memory care center. Memory care might be the perfect answer–providing a loving home setting and individualized care and attention for your loved one.
Anosognosia and Your Loved One
If your loved one suffers from anosognosia, remember to stay patient, positive, and provide structure and support. And remember it is perfectly fine to ask for outside help to manage these difficult behaviors and keep your loved one safe.
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