Generally, when you are sick, you know it. You see the symptoms and you understand that you are unwell. This is not always the case, however, and for those with Alzheimer’s or dementia, a lack of awareness about the extent of mental impairment is a common symptom. It’s common enough that there is a name for it: anosognosia.
Not everyone who has dementia experiences anosognosia, but for those who do, it can make things especially difficult for caregivers. Making progress with a loved one struggling with dementia is always hard, but it’s especially challenging when the loved one does not even acknowledge that there is anything wrong.
Why does this condition occur? The science is still out, but many researchers believe it pertains to corrosion of the frontal lobes; the brain is wired to detect abnormalities, but when those capabilities are diminished, it can lead to anosognosia.
Because anosognosia can be either complete or selective, it may be difficult to determine whether it’s truly anosognosia or simply denial. However, there are a few telltale signs that your loved one may have dementia with anosognosia:
- Failure to keep up with daily tasks—cleaning, grooming, etc.
- Difficulty with money management
- Becoming less inhibited in conversations with others
- Becoming angry when confronted with forgetfulness, etc.
If your loved one does have dementia, of course, it is important that they know it. Here are some tips for addressing it with them:
- Stay positive; only use gentle, empathetic forms of encouragement when it comes to daily tasks.
- Offer to work together with them on money management, personal grooming, or whatever else the issue is.
- Provide a structured schedule of daily responsibilities and tasks.
Also consider seeking help from a memory care professional. To learn more about the available options for addressing anosognosia, we encourage you to contact CountryHouse today.
Contact CountryHouse today to learn more about memory care.