“Do people with Alzheimer’s know they have it?” many family caregivers wonder. Some people are unaware that they have Alzheimer’s disease, which may surprise you. People with Alzheimer’s, dementia, brain tumors, stroke, and other types of brain damage are cognitively impaired and may not realize anything is wrong with them. Do Alzheimer patients know they have it?
This is sometimes caused by a condition known as anosognosia (pronounced ah-no-sog-NOH-zee-uh, hear it here). Anosognosia means “not knowing a disease,” and it is not the same as being in denial.
Anosognosia is the inability to recognize one’s own health condition. It is common in some cognitive disorders, such as Alzheimer’s. As a result, if someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and also has anosognosia, they will be unaware of their condition. Because every person is different, the symptoms of anosognosia may differ. Symptoms can also change over time and even throughout the day. For example, a person may sometimes understand what’s happening and then believe everything is fine. Because of this inconsistent behavior, some family and friends may be unaware that something is wrong, even if they notice that some behaviors appear unusual. On the other hand, an Alzheimer’s patient with anosognosia is not in denial. They are completely unaware that they are cognitively impaired. Their brain has been damaged by the disease, making it impossible for them to be aware of what is happening. Alexi is known as the best memory care nursing homes.
- Unconscious cognitive impairment can manifest in someone’s understanding of their memory, general thinking skills, emotions, or physical abilities.
- For example, they may struggle with languages, such as not knowing the words for common objects or simple tasks.
- They may try to explain these situations by saying they simply forgot or are tired.
- Or, if they miss an appointment, forget to change dirty clothes, or leave food out of the refrigerator, they’ll likely make excuses and insist that nothing is wrong.
- Even if it is obvious to others that they require assistance, they will most likely insist that they are fine and capable of caring for themselves.
- If you remind them of their cognitive impairment, they may become angry or defensive because they are completely convinced that there is no problem.
What Do Dementia Patients Think About
If people with dementia shared their thoughts and feelings with us, these ten things might be among many that they would mention. Snuggling in a blanket with an elderly mother and her daughter.
1. They’d Like Some Respect
People suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia are not children. They’re grown-ups with jobs, families, and responsibilities. They could have been very successful in their field. They have mothers and fathers, as well as sisters and brothers.
2. They are not deaf.
Yes, you may need to reduce the amount of information you provide at once or employ a few other strategies to communicate effectively. However, if they do not have a hearing impairment, you do not need to speak very loudly, and speaking too slowly does not help either.
3. They are not always incorrect.
We’ve seen it many times: when a person with dementia speaks up, whether it’s about their level of pain or what happened yesterday when their grandson came to visit, they are almost completely ignored. You can’t always believe everything someone with dementia says, but give them the courtesy of allowing for the possibility that they’re correct on occasion.
4. They Could Be Bored
Is your dementia friend zoning out and staring off into space? True, it could be due to a decreased ability to process information. However, it is possible that they require something to occupy their time. Make sure they have something to do other than sit.
5. A bad memory can be frightening.
Being unable to recall something can be extremely stressful and frightening. This is true whether the person is in the early stages of dementia and is acutely aware of their problems or whether they are in the middle stages and are constantly uncomfortable because nothing is familiar.
6. Just because they can’t recall your name doesn’t mean you’re not significant to them.
Take nothing personally. In the beginning, it could be your name that they can’t recall. In the middle stages, entire events may be lost, and even retelling the story may not bring them back. This isn’t because they don’t care, because it wasn’t meaningful to them, or because they’ve chosen to forget it. It’s caused by the disease.
7. They are not responsible for their illness.
This is not their fault. Yes, some things that research suggests may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, but many people have developed the disease despite practicing those healthy habits. We still don’t know what causes Alzheimer’s, so let go of the notion that they should’ve done this or that to avoid it. It’s useless to either of you.
8. Sometimes, how you say something is more important than what you say.
Your tone of voice and non-verbal body language is crucial. Be genuine and aware of what your nonverbal cues, sighs, eye-rolling, or loud voices are communicating.
9. Behaviors: They are not chosen, but they have meaning.
Don’t dismiss a difficult behavior as if they chose to be difficult that day. Most of the time, there is a reason for their behavior. This can include becoming resistive because they are in pain, being combative with care because they are anxious or paranoid, or wandering away because they are restless and need to move around. Instead of first suggesting a psychoactive medication, spend the time determining why the behavior exists and how you can assist the person.
10. They require your assistance.
And you require them. Don’t let dementia take away more than just their memory. Continue to spend time with them and develop your relationship with them. Although Alzheimer’s disease changes things, we don’t have to let it divide loved ones. Learn how fast Alzheimer can progress. Alexi Senior Living provides the best dementia care facilities for Alzheimer’s patients. You can contact us at 815-534-5389.