Do Older Adults with Alzheimer’s Know They Have the Disease?

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Simply having some memory issues doesn’t automatically mean your senior loved one has Alzheimer’s disease. But if a parent or someone else you know and love has Alzheimer’s, you may be wondering just how aware he or she is about his or her condition. The answer largely depends on which stage of the disease your loved one is in.

Early-Stage Awareness

In the very early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, other people who regularly interact with your loved one may notice something’s not right. However, it’s fairly common for seniors just developing Alzheimer’s symptoms to be unaware of any issues, especially if they haven’t yet been officially diagnosed. While they might know something is off, they may justify their actions to explain their behaviors. You might hear excuses such as “I’m just tired,” or your loved one might get defensive and say things like “You’re overreacting” as he or she insists everything is fine. Early issues your loved one might experience include:

• Forgetting where commonly used items are
• Repeating things during conversations
• Having difficulty with more complex tasks

Once the disease begins to progress, memory-related problems usually become more apparent. During this time, your loved one may begin to realize his or her shortcomings, even if other people are trying to be polite and not point them out, which could result in confusion or even anger. Your loved one may know something’s wrong but be unable to determine what it is.

If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care services families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Middle-Stage Awareness

During the middle stages of Alzheimer’s, newly acquired memories tend to be easily lost. Because of this aspect of the disease, seniors may go back and forth between knowing they have Alzheimer’s and making excuses for their actions even if they’ve already been evaluated and diagnosed. One way to handle situations like this is to determine how aware your loved one is at the moment before discussing anything related to the condition. Doing so can avoid added confusion or argumentative behavior.

Be prepared for ups and downs in terms of awareness. During lucid moments, your loved one may seem to understand what’s going on. However, a few hours later, your loved one may lash out and accuse you of not listening if you’re having difficulty understanding what he or she is trying to convey.

An experienced home caregiver can be a wonderful source of support for your whole family. There are many reasons seniors might need assistance at home. Some may require regular mental stimulation due to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, while others might only need part-time assistance with exercise and basic household tasks. Home Care Assistance is a leading Flower Mound elderly home care provider. Families rely on our expertly trained caregivers to help their senior loved ones maintain a high quality of life.

Late-Stage Awareness

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, it’s common for seniors with Alzheimer’s to simply be unaware of their surroundings, the passage of time, or what’s happening to them once they’re in the later stages of the disease. On a positive note, there’s research suggesting emotions remain intact even as memory fades, which means you’ll likely be able to continue to show your loved one you care with comforting touches and vocal tones, even if he or she is unaware of having the condition.

If your elderly loved one is living with Alzheimer’s and needs help managing the symptoms, turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Alzheimer’s care. Flower Mound seniors can rely on our revolutionary Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program that promotes cognitive health and delays the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. CTM also encourages seniors to engage with others in an enjoyable way and helps them build new routines to look forward to. If you need professional home care for your loved one, our Care Managers are just a phone call away. Reach out to Home Care Assistance today at (972) 468-6010.