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Do People With Dementia Know They Have It

Arguing With Someone Who Has Dementia Isn’t Worth It

Why does a Person Not Know They Have Dementia? || The “Why” Series

It’s so easy to become frustrated and angry with someone who has dementia and then begin to argue with them;to convince them of how they’re wrong. This tendency is especially common when this person is a family member or close friend.;

Instead, remember that dementia actually changes brain function, structure, and ability. You will rarely win an argument in dementia; rather, you will almost always increase the frustration levels of;both of you. Spending time being angry and arguing in dementia is;just not worth it.

Inside The Mind Of Dementia

What does it feel like to have dementia? Thats a question that researchers, scientists and family members of loved ones have asked time and time again. What is really going on in the mind of the person? How do they view the world? Do they understand whats happening, or do they think that everybody;else;are the ones acting strange? The answer to that depends on the person and what stage of dementia they are in.;

No two people experience dementia the same way, says;Erica Labb, Executive Director of;Bridges®;by EPOCH at Westford. Some individuals could suffer significant memory loss but remain fairly physically healthy. Others can deteriorate at an incredible speed. It can depend on what type of dementia a person has, their health history and many other intangibles that we arent even aware of yet.

But thanks to research and a growing awareness of dementias such as Alzheimers disease, we are gathering a clearer picture of what it feels like to have dementia, particularly in the early stages of the disease. If a person is in the early stages of dementia, they are still capable of many things, which makes it easier for them to record their emotions, feelings and experiences, says Erica. There are many first-hand accounts, speakers and advocates out there who are open and honest about their experience, and theyre helping change the outlook on what dementia is and what it isnt.

The Majority Of People With Dementia Dont Know They Have It

These are people who can refuse to take medicine, or insist that they can go to work or the store even when it is not safe to do so.

For such a group, if you ask the question do people with dementia know they have it, the answer will be a resounding no.

This is, however, not to state that every single person with the illness does not know they have it.

Some individuals may actually know depending on the stage dementia is diagnosed.

Developing dementia can be a stressful time for the affected person.

One day they might be living their lives normally and the next they can only recognize their family or friends without perhaps remembering their name among an array of other symptoms.

At this point, a person might think that they are experiencing normal forgetfulness that mostly happens as humans grow older but it may not be the case.

For this reason, it is important to seek medical advice when you suspect that there is something wrong with your health.

This will help get the proper diagnosis to know how to deal with the conditions heads on.

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When To See A Doctor

Forgetfulness and memory problems dont automatically point to dementia. These are normal parts of aging and can also occur due to other factors, such as fatigue. Still, you shouldnt ignore the symptoms. If you or someone you know is experiencing a number of dementia symptoms that arent improving, talk with a doctor.

They can refer you to a neurologist who can examine you or your loved ones physical and mental health and determine whether the symptoms result from dementia or another cognitive problem. The doctor may order:

  • a complete series of memory and mental tests
  • a neurological exam
  • brain imaging tests

If youre concerned about your forgetfulness and dont already have a neurologist, you can view doctors in your area through the Healthline FindCare tool.

Dementia is more common in people over the age of 65, but it can also affect younger people. Early onset of the disease can begin when people are in their 30s, 40s, or 50s. With treatment and early diagnosis, you can slow the progression of the disease and maintain mental function. The treatments may include medications, cognitive training, and therapy.

Possible causes of dementia include:

What Are The Signs Of End

Do People with Dementia Know They Have It

It is important for caregivers to know when an individual with dementia is close to the end of their life, because it helps ensure they receive the right amount of care at the right time. It can be difficult to know exactly when this time is due to the variable nature of dementias progression, but understanding common end-of-life symptoms of seniors with dementia can help. Below is a timeline of signs of dying in elderly people with dementia:

Final Six Months

  • A diagnosis of another condition such as cancer, congestive heart failure or COPD
  • An increase in hospital visits or admissions

Final Two-to-Three Months

  • Speech limited to six words or less per day
  • Difficulty in swallowing or choking on liquids or food
  • Unable to walk or sit upright without assistance
  • Incontinence
  • Hands, feet, arms and legs may be increasingly cold to the touch
  • Inability to swallow
  • Terminal agitation or restlessness
  • An increasing amount of time asleep or drifting into unconsciousness
  • Changes in breathing, including shallow breaths or periods without breathing for several seconds or up to a minute

Patients with dementia are eligible to receive hospice care if they have a diagnosis of six months or less to live if the disease progresses in a typical fashion. Once a patient begins experiencing any of the above symptoms, it is time to speak with a hospice professional about how they can help provide added care and support.

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S For Communicating With Someone With Dementia

  • Keep yourself in the persons eyeline, and try not to suddenly appear from the side or from behind
  • Speak clearly and in short sentences
  • If the person is struggling to recognise you, introduce yourself and tell them about the connection between you, for instance: Hello mum, its Julie and I have little Danny, your grandson with me.
  • Be reassuring; look the person in the eye and smile
  • If a person with dementia is getting agitated, take yourself to another room for a few minutes before coming back in, calmly, and saying something like: Hello, Im back now, how lovely to see you.
  • Try not to correct the person if they get your name wrong or say something that isnt true; this can lead to distress and frustration on all sides. Try to imagine how the person with dementia is feeling

Remember, not being recognised does not mean you are totally forgotten.

The Seven Stages Of Dementia

One of the most difficult things to hear about dementia is that, in most cases, dementia is irreversible and incurable. However, with an early diagnosis and proper care, the progression of some forms of dementia can be managed and slowed down. The cognitive decline that accompanies dementia conditions does not happen all at once – the progression of dementia can be divided into seven distinct, identifiable stages.

Learning about the stages of dementia can help with identifying signs and symptoms early on, as well as assisting sufferers and caretakers in knowing what to expect in further stages. The earlier dementia is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can start.

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Difficulty Finding The Right Words

Another early symptom of dementia is struggling to communicate thoughts. A person with dementia may have difficulty explaining something or finding the right words to express themselves. Having a conversation with a person who has dementia can be difficult, and it may take longer than usual to conclude.

Remember That He Really Can’t Control His Behavior

Does a Person with Dementia Know They Have It?

When your family member or friend has dementia, it’s tempting to believe that they’re really not that bad off. This can be a protective tendency so that you don’t have to directly face the changes that dementia is making in your loved one’s life.

Sometimes, caregivers would almost prefer to believe that a loved one is;being stubborn, rather than the fact that they have dementia. The problem with that belief is that then, it’s very easy to;feel that they’re choosing to dig their heels in and just being difficult You may feel like they have “selective memory problems” or that they’re just trying to provoke you or make your day difficult by not getting dressed to go to a doctor’s appointment, for example.

Instead, remind yourself that dementia can affect;personality, behavior, decision-making, and judgment. They’re not just being stubborn or manipulative; they also have a disease that can sometimes control his behavior and emotions. This perspective can make it feel a little less personal when the day is not going well.

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Planning For The Future

The way the patient is involved in future planning will depend on factors such as their experience, cognitive function and the skill of the professional involved. There can be little doubt that, for patients who can continue to verbally comment on their wishes, the process will be easier.

A balance needs to be struck between what the person feels is important and what we know from experience is likely to require consideration. This might include what to do when capacity is challenged, how to manage financial affairs, and when and how to relinquish independence.

Advance directives – One of the most accessible ways to begin to consider and document treatment and care choices for the future is through use of a living will or advance directive. The Alzheimers Society describes an advance directive as a means for a person to give consent on certain treatment or care, refuse certain treatments or to nominate someone to do so on their behalf. It does not give an individual the right to refuse basic care or ask a doctor to do something unlawful.

Family or carers need to be made aware of advance directives and understand their implications. This will enable them to advocate in the future from a basis of knowledge of what the individual making the directive thought at the time.

Tips For Managing Dementia End

Because individuals with advanced dementia will often have difficulty communicating, it is important that caregivers keep a close eye on their loved one for signs of pain or discomfort. These signs may include moaning or yelling, restlessness or an inability to sleep, grimacing, or sweating. This may also signal that its time to call hospice or a palliative care team to help with the pain management.

If an individual with end-stage dementia is having trouble sitting up without assistance, hospice can provide a hospital bed or other equipment to lift their head.

Perhaps the hardest thing for families is when a loved one with dementia is no longer able to eat or swallow. Because an individual with dementia is unable to understand the benefits of feeding tubes or IV drips, they will often be incredibly distressed and attempt to remove them, causing added pain and risk of infection. Instead, focusing on keeping the individual comfortable. Supporting them with mouth care to prevent their mouth from becoming dry will allow them to make their final transition in peace.

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Ethical Codes And Telling The Diagnosis

The psychiatrist should inform the patient of the nature of the condition, therapeutic procedures, including possible alternatives, and of the possible outcome. This information must be offered in a considerate way, and the patient must be given the opportunity to choose between appropriate and available methods.

But does this mean that psychiatrists have the duty to provide the information when there is no treatment? And how truthful should be the considerate way? Does it imply the whole truth? As much as the patient wants? As much as the patient’s physician believes is sufficient? The General Medical Council recommends that physicians, to establish and maintain trust in their relationships with patients, must give them the information they ask for or need about their condition, its treatment and prognosis… in a way they can understand. In practice, patients with dementia rarely ask for the information, and many physicians seem to think that because there is no cure to offer, such knowledge may be only detrimental and, therefore, not needed in therapeutic relationships. But can the relationships be successful without telling the truth?

Caring For Someone With Anosognosia

Do People with Dementia Know They Have Dementia?

For dementia caregivers, anosognosia can sometimes be more frustrating to deal with than a loved ones actual lapses in memory. A seniors abilities are changing before your eyes, but how can you convince them that they are incapable of driving, cooking or handling their finances when they dont understand they are even ill? As with most unusual dementia behaviors, learning more about the issue can help you stay calm and find workarounds to keep your loved one safe.

My mother has anosognosiasomething I didn’t even know existed until I read an article about it a couple of years ago. Just knowing that she lacks the capability to recognize her deficits does make it easier to work with her sometimes because I can strategize with that in mind. caring4alice

Some patients are so convinced theyre healthy and competent that they may even refuse to go to doctors appointments, undergo neurological testing, receive medical treatments or take medications. We are all familiar with the adage you cant help those that wont help themselves. With dementia, even when someone does not acknowledge the root of their problems or want assistance, intervention of some kind is usually necessary.

Visit the articles below for insights and suggestions from experienced caregivers on how to cope with the complications that can result from anosognosia.

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What Conditions Can Be Mistaken For Dementia

The term dementia refers to a specific group of symptoms related to a decline in mental ability. Often, people who experience subtle short-term memory changes, are easily confused, or exhibit different behaviors or personality traits are mistakenly thought to have dementia. These symptoms could be the result of a variety of other conditions or disorders, including other neurocognitive disorders such as Parkinsons disease, brain growths or tumors, mild cognitive impairment , and mood disorders, like depression.

Struggling To Adapt To Change

For someone in the early stages of dementia, the experience can cause fear. Suddenly, they cant remember people they know or follow what others are saying. They cant remember why they went to the store, and they get lost on the way home.

Because of this, they might crave routine and be afraid to try new experiences. Difficulty adapting to change is also a typical symptom of early dementia.

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Memory Loss: Everything Became Fuzzier

Dementia symptoms result from damage to the brain caused by disease or injury. As brain cells die, it becomes difficult or impossible to store new memories or access old ones. Sometimes dementia comes on suddenly, after a stroke or head injury. Often it comes on more slowly as the result of conditions like Alzheimerâs disease or Parkinsonâs disease. Most causes of dementia cannot be reversed.

Mary Ann Becklenberg is in the early stages of Alzheimerâs disease, but her dementia symptoms have already had an enormous impact on her life. In 2006, she had to leave her position as a clinical social worker because she could no longer meet the responsibilities. âThe world became much less defined than it had been,â says Becklenberg. âEverything became fuzzier.â

The diagnosis didnât come until later. John Becklenberg says that he first knew that his wife had Alzheimerâs disease after she returned from a monthlong trip to California. âI was there with her for a week of her stay,â he says. âBut when she got back, she didnât remember that Iâd been there at all.â

âThat was so hard,â says Mary Ann Becklenberg, who now serves as an Alzheimerâs Association early stage adviser. âJohn listed all these things we did and places we went, and I didnât remember any of them. That was when we knew.â

Why Do The Elderly Deny Signs And Symptoms Of Dementia

Why do people with dementia lie?

Many people are reluctant to reveal dementia signs in an effort to avoid negative stereotypes, shame, or embarrassment, according to a;study of anxiety and stigma in dementia. Its not uncommon for someone in the early stages of dementia to be in denial, keep it a secret, or drift away socially. This can lead to social isolation, overdependence on family, and decreased quality of life, the researchers write.

Sometimes, behavior that seems like dementia denial or avoidance may actually be a lack of awareness. People with;anosognosia; a medical condition defined as lack of insight dont realize they have a cognitive impairment. They may be aware of some symptoms without realizing dementia is involved, or their awareness may fluctuate.

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What Are Early Dementia Signs And Symptoms

Dementia affects each person differently, in varying degrees and at different rates. Individuals usually need to experience two or more symptoms that dramatically interfere with their daily life to receive a dementia diagnosis. However, if you notice one or more signs of dementia in someone you love, schedule an appointment with a doctor who can make a complete assessment.

Six early warning symptoms of dementia may include:

  • Forgetting things recently learned, important dates, names or other important information
  • Asking the same question or repeating the same story over and over
  • Getting lost in familiar places Inability to backtrack or retrace steps
  • Unable to follow directions or stay on task
  • Becoming confused about time, people and places
  • Neglecting personal safety, hygiene and nutrition


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