Having Alzheimer’s disease can be tough on anyone. However, what happens if your elderly loved one doesn’t even know they have Alzheimer’s disease? There is something called anosognosia. This means without knowledge of the disease.
Someone with this condition does not know they are sick. For example, someone with Alzheimer’s disease will claim over and over again that their memory is just fine. However, they continue to struggle with remembering names and faces.
Causes of Anosognosia
Alzheimer’s disease can cause atrophy to the brain’s right frontal lobe. This part of one’s brain is responsible for organizing, problem-solving, processing things, and more. When Alzheimer’s disease advances, it can damage this part of the brain and cause anosognosia. In addition, someone who has had strokes or brain tumors could develop this condition, as well.
It is important for family care providers and elderly care providers to know that anosognosia does not mean the person is in denial. They truly do not realize that they are sick with Alzheimer’s disease.
Anosognosia Rating Scale
There is a rating scale for anosognosia. There are 4 different levels of self-awareness for memory loss that you should know about including:
- The elderly adult will admit they have memory loss.
- The elderly adult will acknowledge they have minimal memory loss.
- The elderly adult isn’t aware they have any memory impairments.
- The elderly adult insists angrily that they have no issues with memory loss.
The more that your loved one’s Alzheimer’s disease progresses, the worse the anosognosia will get.
Helping Someone with Anosognosia
Elderly adults who have anosognosia might refuse to get any help. This can be a problem for those who are taking care of them including their family members and elderly care providers. If left alone, your elderly loved one might not shower, eat, or take care of themselves at all. Some of the ways you can help someone with this condition include the following:
- Approach issues with your loved one in a positive way. Encourage them to accept elderly care provider assistance. Explain how much the elderly care providers can help out.
- Work with your elderly loved one to complete errands, chores, and finances. Keep your connections with your loved one relaxed and easy.
- Add more structure to your loved one’s day by helping them stick to routines and certain tasks throughout the day.
- If your loved one has anosognosia, these are some of the ways that you can help them out.
If your loved one is not aware that they have Alzheimer’s disease, it is important that you and elderly care providers help them out as much as possible.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Homecare in Williamstown, NJ, please contact the caring staff at Attentive Care Inc. 1-800-493-5660