One of the reasons Alzheimer’s is such a devastating disease is because many seniors don’t know exactly what’s taking place. Seniors with Alzheimer’s probably realize they aren’t as sharp as they used to be, but they might not understand a serious health complication is developing. While being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s can be overwhelming, an early and accurate diagnosis can greatly enhance a senior’s prognosis.
Alzheimer’s & Anosognosia
Some seniors who have Alzheimer’s are going to be in denial after the diagnosis, but others are going to be completely unaware something is wrong. Anosognosia is the medical term used to describe someone who doesn’t realize he or she has a disease, and it’s very common among people with Alzheimer’s. This disease takes years to progress, and the symptoms often seem like the natural cognitive decline most seniors experience. However, being unaware of the disease can delay treatment, which might speed up or exacerbate some of the worst symptoms.
Anosognosia versus Denial
Denial is one of the most common reactions to a major diagnosis, but that disbelief should eventually go away. Seniors who don’t understand they have a progressive disorder might have anosognosia as well. Aging adults in denial generally refuse any type of treatment, while seniors who have anosognosia are usually willing to meet with a doctor and undergo testing as long as it’s suggested by a loved one.
If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of homecare families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
Recognizing and Treating Anosognosia
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, around 80 percent of people with dementia also have anosognosia. Some of the most common symptoms of anosognosia include the inability to carry out everyday tasks, sudden personality changes, engaging in risky behavior, poor decision-making, and a lack of self-care. To treat anosognosia, your loved one will most likely need to meet with a therapist who specializes in the disorder. If you don’t know where to turn, you should speak with your loved one’s primary doctor to see if he or she has any recommendations. Untreated anosognosia can greatly increase the risk of many secondary complications, including depression.
There are many reasons seniors might need assistance at home. Some may require regular mental stimulation due to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, while others might only need part-time assistance with exercise and basic household tasks. Home Care Assistance is a leading Palm Desert elderly home care provider. Families rely on our expertly trained caregivers to help their senior loved ones maintain a high quality of life.
Helping Your Loved One
Managing anosognosia isn’t easy, but there are a few steps you can take to help your loved one get the professional treatment he or she needs. Those who are caring for a senior with Alzheimer’s must remember this disease can impact the way a senior processes information, and patience is going to be absolutely vital in the coming years. When you notice a symptom, you should immediately bring it up to your loved one and explain that something might be wrong. You can also suggest meeting with medical specialists just to have peace of mind. Luckily, anosognosia can often be treated with a mixture of antipsychotic medication, ongoing therapy, and familial support.
If your elderly loved one is living with Alzheimer’s and needs help managing the symptoms, turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Alzheimer’s care. Palm Desert seniors can rely on our revolutionary Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program that promotes cognitive health and delays the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. CTM also encourages seniors to engage with others in an enjoyable way and helps them build new routines to look forward to. Reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (760) 345-0001 to learn more about our high-quality Alzheimer’s home care services.