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Anosognosia and Dementia: It’s More Than Denial

Anosognosia, or the unawareness of a person’s own declining condition, can be experienced with dementia.

“How on earth could you think that I have dementia? There is not a single thing wrong with me!”

If an aging loved one with dementia communicates statements like this, you might have thought to yourself that the senior was merely in denial and unwilling to acknowledge such a challenging diagnosis. Nevertheless, there may be a different reason: anosognosia and dementia often go hand in hand, and occur when the person with dementia experiences a true unawareness of his/her own condition.

Identifying the most appropriate way to respond to a senior who is not really acquainted with the personal difficulties being experienced with cognitive functioning is a challenge. Our team of experts in elder care in Eugene, Oregon has provided several tips to help family caregivers better care for a loved one with anosognosia:

  • Realize that the older person with dementia, while lacking in awareness of this one particular area, isn’t necessarily experiencing complete unawareness of his/her state of being. The senior may not be aware of the memory impairment resulting from the dementia, but still maintain full understanding of his or her physical restrictions related to osteoarthritis, for example.
  • Plan for changes in the senior’s extent of anosognosia. While the individual may seem to be completely unaware of a certain challenge at the moment, the degree of awareness can shift over time.
  • Supply full support to the senior by inviting conversations about his/her emotions, feelings, and thoughts without judgment. It is imperative for the senior to be comfortable in sharing any concerns openly and honestly without feeling the need to cover them up.

Anosognosia, and other effects of Alzheimer’s disease, including sundowning, wandering, difficult behaviors, and aggression, can be extremely challenging, both for the older person living with these problems and for his or her family members. Family caregivers require a strong network of support and to learn as much as possible about the disease, along with strategies for most effectively managing it. It is also important to be sure to designate sufficient time for self-care.

Contact the professionals in elder care in Eugene, Oregon and surrounding areas at New Horizons In-Home Care for further tips for Alzheimer’s care, including anosognosia, ensuring the older person you love enjoys the best possible quality of life at all times. We work with families to supply compassionate, highly skilled respite care services, allowing family caregivers the opportunity to get away for a period of time to unwind. Whether the older adult could benefit from several hours of care each week or full-time, around-the-clock specialized dementia care, we’re always available to help. Call us at 541-687-8851 to learn more, to find out if our services are available in your area, and to schedule a free in-home consultation.

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Customer Testimonials

J. M. May 4, 2020

Eugene, Or Client
The people I've worked with have been so straightforward and honest. They really care about how it's going. The caregiver is very understanding, knowledgeable. He can see ahead and makes some suggestions. I can leave if I need without the least bit of worry. He is really proactive, I know he cares and trust him impeccably.

Pamela V. April 9, 2020

Eugene, Or Client
I like how nice the caregivers are. The office staff is prompt on getting somebody out here when it is needed and the caregivers make me feel better than what I am. They are willing to do anything I ask of them.

Barbara W. February 2, 2020

Corvallis, Or Client
We are happy to have them because they do well. They come when they are supposed to and do what they are supposed to. They do things that we didn't know we needed. They assess the situation well and plan for the right care. They are very dependable and thorough and are very friendly and helpful. We're very satisfied.

Candice S. April 1, 2020

Salem, Or Client
They are very helpful and on time with things. They do what they say they are going to do. They will talk to me and help me when needed. I don't have to wait forever to pick up my calls and they are quick to get back to me. It has been positive.

Sharon R. April 01, 2020

Salem, Or Client
The caregivers will do anything that we ask of them. They have been very convenient. and are able to be here and do things for us that we cannot do.

O.H. February 14, 2020

Eugene, Or Client
The caregiver they sent me is awesome. People in the office staff are friendly and they know what they are talking about. The case manager, is a wonderful person and she knows her job. If I need something, all I have to do is call them.

Mary B. April 01, 2020

Eugene, Or Client
It has taken a great load off of our shoulders, especially mine. It has helped my health as well and gives my husband some social time. They are really good at scheduling around our schedule and are matched very well to his needs. We always recommend them to others who need care.

Denise B. March 02, 2020

Salem, Or Client
My caregiver is wonderful. I wish I could have more time. They do so much for me that I can't do for myself. They spend a few minutes to talk with me and be social. They are very open, caring, patient, outgoing, understanding, and kind people. If I need help with anything they will always help me. They are so helpful. I don't know what I'd do without their services.

Gail P. February 13, 2020

Florence Or,
The office staff found the right person for us. They check in regularly. What we need is someone who could do the cleaning and we have that. I like the fact that they have provided the kind of assistance that we needed. The caregiver we have is excellent.

Barbara N. February 12, 2020

Eugene, Or Client
They are courteous, respectful, and serve good food, and do everything we ask. They did all of their duties and everything was done in a timely manner. They were very helpful.
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