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How To Deal With Dementia Denial

How Can I Stop Worrying About My Aging Parents

When a Loved One Is in Denial About Dementia

Even if your aging parent refuses to talk to you about your thoughts and worries, consider talking to someone about them. This might benefit you not just emotionally, but also practically. You can obtain guidance, such as ideas for how to address the problem or resources to assist you now or in the future. As well, by sharing your concerns with others, they may be able to provide insight into how your parent is managing their emotions.

If you are struggling with anxiety around your aging parent, seek help from a mental health professional. There are many types of therapy that may be effective in reducing your worry about them discuss various options with your therapist.

In addition, there are organizations that specialize in helping individuals manage the stress of having an elderly loved one. These include: The American Association for Caregiving , The National Alliance for Caregiving , and The AARP Foundation/Aging Advocacy Group .

Last, try not to focus so much on your parent’s illness or injury that it prevents you from living your own life. Take time for yourself by going out with friends, exercising, calling relatives, or doing whatever else makes you feel good. This will help you cope better with any current situation as well as give you energy for dealing with future challenges.

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How To Deal With Dementia Denial

Dealing with dementia denial may not be something that crossed your path before. If you are caring for an elderly relative, you are already doing a difficult job. Of course the love and affection you have for them helps a lot. Furthermore, since this is a decision you made, the commitment is a burden you chose to carry. Spending time with your elderly loved one towards the end of their life is precious for you both. They cared for you when you were young and now it is your turn to pay them back. Reliving the old days and making new memories are things the entire family can enjoy and participate in. Unfortunately, this only makes it harder to know how to deal with dementia denial.

The link here is specific to your situation:

However, you may have noticed certain changes, even deterioration, in their mental health. You may even suspect that dementia is on the horizon. If you are correct, you may be wondering what to do next. Here at Vermont Aged Care we are familiar with the problems of dementia. Therefore we have experience that we are happy to share with you. Fact sheets are available at.

For All Family Members

Some of the most common feelings families and caregivers experience are guilt, grief and loss, and anger. Rest assured that you are not alone if you find yourself feeling these, too.


It is quite common to feel guiltyâguilty for the way the person with dementia was treated in the past, guilty at feeling embarrassed by their odd behaviour, guilty for lost tempers or guilty for not wanting the responsibility of caring for a person with dementia.

If the person with dementia goes into hospital or residential care you may feel guilty that you have not kept him at home for longer, even though everything that could be done has been done. It is common to feel guilty about past promises such as âIâll always look after you,â when this cannot be met.

Grief and loss

Grief is a response to loss. If someone close develops dementia, we are faced with the loss of the person we used to know and the loss of a relationship. People caring for partners may experience grief at the loss of the future that they had planned to share together.

Grief is a very individual feeling and people will feel grief differently at different times. It will not always become easier with the passing of time.


It is natural to feel frustrated and angryâangry at having to be a caregiver, angry with others who do not seem to be helping out, angry at the person with dementia for her difficult behaviours and angry at support services.

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Tips For Communicating With Your Parent

  • Avoid power struggles. Dont push, nag or harangue your parents. Making ultimatums will only get their backs up, and yelling, arguing or slamming doors could seriously damage the relationship. Laura Ellen Christian, 15 Expert Tips for When Your Aging Parents Won’t Listen, The Arbor Company Twitter:
  • Ask about your loved one’s preferences. Does your loved one have a preference about which family member or what type of service provides care? While you might not be able to meet all of your loved one’s wishes, it’s important to take them into consideration. If your loved one has trouble understanding you, simplify your explanations and the decisions you expect him or her to make.
  • Don’t fire off questions or ask complicated questions. First off, don’t pepper elders with questions or complicated choices. Instead of saying, Do you have to use the bathroom? say, We are going to the bathroom. If the word shower upsets them, don’t use it. Come with me, you say, and you end up at the shower. If someone with dementia is frightened, acknowledge it and say, You are safe with me. I’ll protect you. After they’re calmer, you can try to get them to do something. The one question that people with dementia often respond to is this: I really need your help. Can you help me with this?” Stacey Burling, They’re Not Just Stubborn: How to Get People with Dementia to Participate, Twitter:
  • 6 Ways To Handle Stubbornness In Seniors, Alternatives for Seniors Twitter:
  • How To Deal With Dementia Behavior Problems

    Caring for a patient in denial about their dementia diagnosis
    • How to Deal with Dementia Behavior Problems: 19 Dos and Donts

    Dementia is a disease that affects millions of people across the globe every year. It is often a highly misunderstood condition that is marred by numerous misconceptions, which make the condition difficult to understand and study.

    You should know that dementia is not a name for an illness, rather it is a collective term that describes a broad range of symptoms that relate to declining of thinking, memory, and cognitive skills. These symptoms have deteriorating effects that usually affect how a patient acts and engages in the day-to-day activities.

    In advanced dementia stages, affected persons may experience symptoms that bring out a decline in rational thought, intellect, social skills, memory, and normal emotional reactivity. It is something that can make them powerless when it comes to living normal, healthy lives.

    Relatives, caregivers, spouses, siblings, children and anyone close to a person who has dementia need to know how to deal with behavioral problems that surface because of the illness. Examples of dementia problems may include aggressiveness, violence and oppositional behaviors. Find out some of the vital Do and Donts when dealing with a dementia patient.

    Recommended Reading: Bob Knight Alzheimer’s

    How To Address Denial About Dementia In Seniors And Adults

    Caregivers can understand that denial is frequently a part of the dementia journey, explain it in more compassionate words, attempt a few therapeutic falsehoods, recognize that ignorance can be bliss, take precautions to keep them safe, and find methods to work around it. A therapeutic lie involves introducing a doctor as a friend who want to assist you. This may help if you do not want to tell the actual reason for wanting the doctors advice.

    Denial is a natural reaction to emotional pain. It helps us avoid thinking and feeling uncomfortable things. Denial is normal even for those who suffer from Alzheimers disease. However, if denial is used as a defense mechanism against discussing dementia with others then it becomes a problem.

    Those who are close to an Alzheimers patient may experience denial. For example, a spouse or child may deny that someone they love has Alzheimers disease. Or a friend may refuse to believe that someone who was active and involved in their community has changed. Dementia can be difficult to diagnose because early signs are similar to those of many other diseases. Also, doctors may miss symptoms of dementia due to misdiagnosis or else be unable to confirm its presence.

    What To Do If Your Parent Is In Denial About Their Dementia Diagnosis

    A denial of a dementia diagnosis is very common even in the early phases of the disease. Who wants to admit they have a problem that causes memory loss and for which there is no cure?

    There is a stigma around having dementia. Those with dementia worry that if people know, they will be shunned or not know how to interact. It is crucial to be sensitive to this issue while helping your parent realize they have a problem.

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    Other Factors That Can Affect Behavior

    In addition to changes in the brain, other things may affect how people with Alzheimers behave:

    Other problems in their surroundings may affect behavior for a person with Alzheimers disease. Too much noise, such as TV, radio, or many people talking at once can cause frustration and confusion. Stepping from one type of flooring to another or the way the floor looks may make the person think he or she needs to take a step down. Mirrors may make them think that a mirror image is another person in the room. For tips on creating an Alzheimers-safe home, visit Home Safety and Alzheimers Disease.

    If you dont know what is causing the problem, call the doctor. It could be caused by a physical or medical issue.

    Also Check: Bobby Knight Health Update

    Can Dementia Get Worse Suddenly

    Dementia Whisperer: Laura Wayman’s Tips on Dealing with Denial

    Dementia is a progressive disorder, which means that it worsens as time goes on. Individuals differ in the rate at which they deteriorate over time. The pattern of advancement will be influenced by factors such as age, general health, and the underlying condition that is producing brain injury. Some people, on the other hand, may have a quick and abrupt deterioration.

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    Coping With Denial And Lack Of Insight

    It can be upsetting when a person does not acknowledge or accept their condition. This can be especially difficult if they seem not to be open and honest with other people about the problems theyve been having.

    Its very common for people with dementia to do this with their GP or social care professionals. However, if you can empathise and try to support the person, it might make it easier to manage the situation.

    I’d Like To Learn More About How To Care For My Loved One With Dementia Do You Offer A Course I Can Attend

    Our training courses provide valuable skills and support, and complement Dementia Australia’s other services.

    We offer timely skills and knowledge in a supportive environment. Our educators are highly qualified and their experience in providing dementia care means they understand your needs.

    Visit our Learning section of this website for more information about the courses which you can attend in each state or territory.

    For more information call our National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500.

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    The Alzheimers And Dementia Care Journey

    Caring for someone with Alzheimers disease or another type of dementia can be a long, stressful, and intensely emotional journey. But youre not alone. In the United States, there are more than 16 million people caring for someone with dementia, and many millions more around the world. As there is currently no cure for Alzheimers or dementia, it is often your caregiving and support that makes the biggest difference to your loved ones quality of life. That is a remarkable gift.

    However, caregiving can also become all-consuming. As your loved ones cognitive, physical, and functional abilities gradually diminish over time, its easy to become overwhelmed, disheartened, and neglect your own health and well-being. The burden of caregiving can put you at increased risk for significant health problems and many dementia caregivers experience depression, high levels of stress, or even burnout. And nearly all Alzheimers or dementia caregivers at some time experience sadness, anxiety, loneliness, and exhaustion. Seeking help and support along the way is not a luxury its a necessity.

    Just as each individual with Alzheimers disease or dementia progresses differently, so too can the caregiving experience vary widely from person to person. However, there are strategies that can aid you as a caregiver and help make your caregiving journey as rewarding as it is challenging.

    Affordable Online Therapy for Caregiving Support

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    How Do You Talk To A Parent With Dementia

    Living in Denial About Dementia? Join the Club.

    Tips for Communicating with a Parent Suffering from Dementia or Alzheimers

  • Please be patient and understanding. Make sure the individual knows youre listening and trying to grasp what theyre saying
  • offer comfort and reassurance
  • refrain from criticizing or correcting.
  • Dont get into a fight.
  • Make an educated assumption
  • and
  • Also Check: Dementia Neurotransmitter

    Keep Finding Ways To Connect

    While discussing challenges that arise is important, so is talking about the run-of-the-mill happenings of daily life. Engage in everyday conversation about current events, updates with friends and family members, says Campbell, who notes that these interactions seem to bring joy to his wifes heart.

    Gentile adds that its a good idea to find activities you can do together, like an at-home workout or sitting down to a meal together to help foster and maintain good feelings between the two of you.

    The bottom line, according to Kaiser: I often find that the same skills required for improv or even traveling in a foreign country where your knowledge of the language and culture may be limited can be extremely helpful along the caregiving journey. Sure, bring a map, prepare and pack well, but stay flexible knowing that things will not always go according to plan. Always think yes and over but no. And even with the bumps, do your best to enjoy the ride.

    Facing Dementia In The Family

    When you or a loved one first receives adementiadiagnosis, you may feel a range of contradictory emotions, sometimessimultaneously. Many people undergo a period of profound grief, withfeelings of shock, denial and deep sadness. The prospect of facing thissignificant life change can make you feel demoralized, embarrassed orangry. You may even want to keep the diagnosis secret from friends or otherfamily members.

    On the other hand, you may feel a sense of relief. Finally, your suspicionshave been validated, and you and your loved ones can seek out more supportand therapeutic interventions.

    Recommended Reading: Alzheimer’s Purple Ribbon

    Why Caregivers Should Avoid Denial In Dementia Care

    By Wendy Brown 9 am on December 22, 2021

    Family caregivers often find it challenging to accept a senior loved ones dementia diagnosis. Sometimes a caregivers mechanism for handling the diagnosis may be to go into denial, which can be unsafe for both the caregiver and the senior. Heres why you should avoid denial and face the situation.

    How To Handle A Parent With Dementia In Denial

    Dealing with an aging parent with memory loss or dementia

    “How can you say I have Alzheimer’s disease? There is nothing wrong with me!â

    If youâve ever heard a senior loved one with dementia frustratingly communicate this or a similar sentiment, it’s likely you have believed that individual was just in denial and not willing to come to grips with a tough diagnosis. The truth is, however, that oftentimes an individual with Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions is experiencing anosognosia â an unawareness of his or her impairment â and is not just a parent with dementia in denial.

    It can be difficult to determine the ideal way to respond to a person who’s not aware of his or her own cognitive functioning difficulties. The following suggestions can help family caregivers better relate to their senior loved one with Alzheimerâs disease and anosognosia:

    Anosognosia, and other attributes of Alzheimerâs disease, such as sundowning, challenging behaviors, wandering, and aggression, can be quite overwhelming, both for the elderly person dealing with these issues and his or her loved ones. It is crucial for family members to search out a strong network of support and to educate themselves as much as possible in regards to the disease and recommendations for coping. It is also important for family members to set aside sufficient time for self-care.

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    Dont Forget The Children And Teens

    With so much focus on the person who has dementia, sometimes younger family members donât get the attention they need, or the illness is not explained in a way they can understand.

    Children often experience a wide range of emotions when a parent or grandparent has Alzheimerâs disease. Younger children may be fearful that they will get the disease or that they did something to cause it. Teenagers may become resentful if they must take on more responsibilities or feel embarrassed that their parent or grandparent is âdifferent.â College-bound children may be reluctant to leave home.

    Reassure young children that they cannot âcatchâ the disease from you. Be straightforward about personality and behaviour changes. For example, the person with Alzheimerâs may forget things, such as their names, and say and do things that may embarrass them. Assure them that this is not their fault or intentional, but a result of the disease.

    Find out what their emotional needs are and find ways to support them, such as meeting with a counsellor who specializes in children with a family member diagnosed with Alzheimerâs disease. School social workers and teachers can be notified about what the children may be experiencing and be given information about the disease. Encourage children and teens to attend support group meetings, and include them in counselling sessions.

    Here are some examples that might help you cope with role changes within the family:


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