What’s the Difference Between Anosognosia and Denial?

Tell-tale challenges associated with Alzheimer’s disease include confusion, disorientation, memory loss, and inability to make good decisions or use good judgment. Despite this, if you are a family caregiver for an elderly adult who is living with the disease, you may find they are aware of the changes happening to them, and the decrease in their functioning.


Home Care Services in Clark County VA: Difference Between Anosognosia And Denial

Home Care Services in Clark County VA: Difference Between Anosognosia And Denial

For others, however, this awareness is not there, and they are not able to recognize what is happening to them. This is referred to as anosognosia.

Defined as a lack of insight, or lack of awareness, anosognosia can occur in a wide variety of illnesses and conditions. When it comes to Alzheimer’s disease, this condition impacts nearly 47 percent of those who are in the early to middle stages of the disease, and up to 91 percent of those who are in the moderate to advanced stages of the disease.

When a senior with Alzheimer’s disease is living with anosognosia, they are not aware of having the disease, or of the changes in their functioning caused by the disease. When you are facing this type of reaction from your senior, it’s easy to automatically say that they are “in denial”, or to feel like they are just choosing not to accept what they are dealing with. This is not always the case.

When a person is living in denial, they know that they have the condition, but they do not want to admit it. They might try to say they aren’t sick, or that they aren’t having trouble, when they do, in fact, recognize their struggles.

With anosognosia, the person genuinely does not know they have the condition.
Their brain is incapable of processing the reality that they are suffering from the disease, or that they are dealing with the change in functioning and ability that comes with it.

While a senior who has denial may feel angry and embarrassed about the changes, and try to push away help because they are ashamed, a senior with anosognosia has no awareness and will feel the care efforts are unnecessary. They may even feel as though those caring for them are being oppressive or abusive.

This can make being their family caregiver challenging, but it is even more critical for you to focus on giving your parent the care and support they need to stay healthy and safe and maintain their quality of life as much as possible while coping with the effects of the disease. In some cases, the condition is temporary, meaning your parent may develop awareness for some periods, and it is important they know your care is consistent and meaningful regardless of their level of appreciation or cooperation.

If you have recently learned your aging parent is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, or the challenges and symptoms they are experiencing as a result of their Alzheimer’s disease have increased to the point you do not feel confident you can handle them on your own, now is the ideal time to consider elderly care.

Introducing an elderly home care services provider into your care routine for a senior with Alzheimer’s disease can make the progression through this disease smoother and less stressful for both of you. With the personalized services of this care provider, your elderly loved one will receive support, care, and assistance designed to help them manage the issues they face at each stage of their disease, prepare them for the symptoms and challenges to come in the next stage of progression, and also support a lifestyle that continues to be as active and independent as possible. This care helps to support a better quality of life for your aging parents, but also for you as their family caregiver, as they progress through this challenging disease.

If you or an aging loved-one are considering Home Care Services in Clark County, VA, please contact the caring staff at LivinRite Home Care. Call Us Today at (703) 634-9991.

Julie McCormick, Co-Owner
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