It’s quite possible that you’ve never heard of the term anosognosia, but it’s something that often happens with people who have been diagnosed with serious illnesses, such as dementia. Anosognosia is the inability to recognize a defect or disorder that is clinically evident.
This is common in older adults who have recently had a stroke or have been diagnosed with Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s, or any type of dementia.
If you start to notice that your loved one seems to be experiencing early signs and symptoms of dementia, you might try to bring it up to him or her. But it’s quite possible that the mention of even the possibility of dementia will bother your loved one or will even make him or her angry and defensive. A lot of times, the reason for this is anosognosia.
While it might make sense that your loved one is in denial or doesn’t want to accept the symptoms, the truth is that he or she might be completely unaware that these symptoms are even taking place. He or she might not understand that anything has changed. Even if your loved one gets disoriented or has a difficulty with simple tasks, this might not be something he or she remembers later on.
If your loved one is dealing with dementia-like signs and symptoms, it might be difficult to convince him or her that it’s time to go see the doctor, take medicine, or to even accept that this condition is real.
Make sure that in your interactions with your loved one you are gentle and encouraging. Don’t be forceful when you’re trying to make something happen because that will likely make it worse. Provide a structure for your loved one so that there is a clear schedule to follow.
However, make sure to leave plenty of wiggle room between activities and to eliminate as many responsibilities as possible. If you need to help out around the house or take your loved one to appointments, make sure you set that time aside as well. You don’t want to have to rush your loved one between activities because you don’t know the kind of mood he or she will be in.
Whatever you do, though, make sure you are as supportive toward your loved one as possible. When and if the time comes, look into memory care communities and figure out which one might be most comfortable for your loved one.
Here our staff is well-trained on how to interact with and take care of the residents who have dementia. We are happy to be able to provide a senior living option in your area. If you’re getting to the point where you might consider memory care for your loved one, feel free to contact us. We’ll be happy to answer all of your questions.