Often times when a family is faced with a loved one's illness of dementia or Alzheimer's disease, the person may not realize or does not acknowledge that he or she has the condition, or tries to convince the family otherwise. This can occur a bit more frequently among those who have a pre-existing mental illness or traumatic brain injury. This lack of awareness of an illness is called anosognosia, and is commonly recognized among those with not only Alzheimer's, but strokes, and brain tumors.
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When providing senior care, for a loved one whom you suspect is struggling with dementia or Alzheimer's, keep these things in mind, and approach a medical professional in order for the person to get a thorough evaluation followed by the Alzheimer’s care that they need:
Forgetting Daily Tasks
An elderly person with Alzheimer's may disregard daily tasks such as taking out the garbage, washing dishes, or other chores that keep a house tidy. Along with this, other tasks including those like maintaining personal hygiene go unaccomplished. A senior with Alzheimer’s may not care to perform these tasks because they do not recognize the need to do so.
Are bills being paid on time, or at all? A senior living with Alzheimer’s may often forget to pay his/her bills and, sometimes, may do the opposite and pay the same bills more than once. Short-term memory is often diminished, causing more confusion. Money or credit cards may often get misplaced around the home, with no memory of when they were last used.
Alzheimer’s Disease and Spontaneity
Those facing Alzheimer's also have a tendency to become less inhibited in conversations, with very little concern for their own behavior. They may say things that are offensive, without realizing the problem. Care must be taken not to create a tense situation when this happens. Sometimes distracting the individual by changing the subject matter can help.
This will present itself almost always when the loved one is confronted about their forgetfulness. They might get extremely defensive and try to explain why they could not recall something.
A Senior’s Lack of Self-Care at Home
Self-care will sometimes take a dive when a person is facing Alzheimer's disease. This would include forgetting to eat or drink, and not doing other things that are necessary for a human being to thrive.
Bad Decision Making
Poor decision making will be present, and it will be more than just simple mistakes. It could present itself as buying something very expensive that is not needed, selling valuable items, and so much more.
When someone that has Alzheimer's is faced with a question that they do not know the answer to, they will sometimes make up an answer that they believe is true but is often imaginary. The details can be linked to events of the past or something that they have read in a book.
What To Do If The Loved One Doesn't Know?
The caregiver should maintain a positive approach when communicating and showing empathy. The caregiver can supply a schedule of tasks that are structured to include down time and personal care. Unnecessary responsibilities should be downsized, and the caregiver should work together with the loved one to perform the necessary tasks.
Getting homecare assistance from a senior homecare agency in your local area may be a good option, especially when certain behaviors warrant safety monitoring, or the individual needs physical assistance with activities of daily living.
It is important to remember that the aging individual cannot help what they are going through, and is not intentionally trying to cause friction. When dealing with anosognosia, the elderly loved one might not realize that they will need to make some necessary changes to adapt to their new condition. One of the most important responsibilities of the family of the individual with Alzheimer’s disease is to maintain a safe environment for them, avoiding injury to themselves or to others.