When confronted with a severe problem or health crisis, our initial instinct is to bury our heads in the sand and ignore it. Our brain attempts to shield us from the negative emotions and associations that the problem may elicit. To arrive at a solution, it is also analyzing and reacting to this new knowledge.
The majority of us finally recognize that there is a problem and take proactive actions to address it. However, this is difficult for certain people (such as those with advanced dementia). They may choose to remain in denial about the problem, refusing to recognize and address it.
However, some people suffer from anosognosia or a “lack of ability to perceive the realities of one’s own condition.” When anosognosia is diagnosed, it becomes extremely difficult for the family caregiver. How can someone who is committed to providing exceptional care for a loved one succeed if the person they are caring for is unable to recognize that they are sick?
In this blog post, we have compiled the best tips for family caregivers caring for a loved one diagnosed with anosognosia. But before moving further, first learn everything you need to know about anosognosia. So, without further ado, let’s get started!
Anosognosia: What It Is
Anosognosia is thought to be the outcome of disease or degradation in the right hemisphere of the brain. Abstract cognition, perception, and problem-solving are all handled by this portion of the brain.
When the right side of the brain is injured, the left side takes over. It develops coping mechanisms such as denial and rationalization to compensate for the loss of function.
Anosognosia occurs when a person with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of memory loss believes everything is great and that they are doing well. It’s because their brain prevents them from recognizing symptoms of their condition.
What Causes Anosognosia?
Anosognosia can be caused by damage or other physical alterations to certain parts of the brain. Researchers believe that frontal brain degeneration may have a role since the frontal lobe is involved in problem-solving, memory, and judgment.
The frontal lobe can be damaged by stroke, dementia, schizophrenia, brain tumors, and a range of other diseases.
Symptoms of Anosognosia
Some anosognosia symptoms are extremely similar to dementia symptoms, and anosognosia may be selective in character, making diagnosis more difficult.
Anosognosia manifests itself in the following ways:
- Speech inhibition is low, and self-awareness is low.
- Inability to complete everyday duties or maintain personal hygiene and grooming.
- Unable to manage the finances.
- Exaggeration or believing something is true when it isn’t.
- Anger might arise when faced with a lack of self-care, poor decision-making, or forgetfulness.
How Should Caregivers Handle Anosognosia?
Helping people with anosognosia can be extremely challenging and stressful. You’ll almost certainly require assistance from your loved one’s medical providers and other caretakers, as well as advice and information from professional Alzheimer’s and dementia therapists and organizations.
Here are some suggestions for assisting a loved one with anosognosia:
1. Be Kind and Respectful
When someone thinks something that is blatantly false, you may be at a loss for words. You don’t want to agree with them, but telling them that they are wrong isn’t going to help.
Your best step is to state that you have a different perspective on the problem. Use a courteous and kind tone. Also, stress that it’s okay if people have different views as long as they and others are safe.
2. Make Their Life as Safe as Possible
Because of their cognitive impairment, some people may attempt to drive, manage money, cook, or engage in other potentially risky activities.
You may need to make changes without mentioning anosognosia, such as finding creative ways to keep them from driving, working together to avoid financial problems, making the kitchen safer, or making the home safer generally.
3. Get Professional Help
Caring for someone who has anosognosia can be difficult. Keep in mind that you are not alone. Many other caretakers struggle to assist someone with this problem. If caring for a loved one becomes too much for you, don’t be afraid to seek professional help.
Contact a reliable memory care community with well-trained caregivers to assist your loved ones who have anosognosia and other forms of dementia.
Although dealing with elder dementia and anosognosia might be frustrating, it’s critical to maintain a good attitude. You may help keep your loved one safe by knowing the illness and following the suggestions and methods listed above, whether they realize it or not.