There are few things more difficult than watching somebody you love experience cognitive difficulties. Unfortunately, there are times when these cognitive difficulties become a major concern. Alzheimer’s is common throughout the United States. However, just because this is common does not mean that it is any easier for families to deal with. Further complicating an Alzheimer’s diagnosis is the fact that there are times when the person diagnosed is unable to recognize their impairment. This is called anosognosia.
What is Anosognosia?
We want to be very clear that anosognosia is not a denial of a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia. Rather, anosognosia happens when the person diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia is completely unaware of their diagnosis. Many people who are diagnosed with these cognitive illnesses enter into states of shock and denial that can last for a long time, but anosognosia is caused by changes in the brain that result in Alzheimer’s and dementia patients truly believing that there is nothing wrong with them.
Caring for Someone with Anosognosia
If you are carrying with someone who has some form of dementia as well as anosognosia, we understand that you are going through an incredibly difficult time. In fact, dementia caregivers who are also dealing with anosognosia can become incredibly frustrated.
One of the best ways for caregivers to handle these situations is for them to become educated about what they are dealing with. Please take the time to speak to your loved one’s doctors about the underlying dementia diagnosis as well as anosognosia.
Some patients with anosognosia may be so convinced that they are healthy and competent that they may refuse to go to doctor’s appointments to undergo any neurological testing or receive medical treatment. For those with Alzheimer’s and anosognosia, some type of intervention may be necessary.
You should speak to an attorney who specializes in protecting the elderly about how to set up a guardianship through the court system. It may also be necessary to place your loved one in a nursing home or assisted living facility that specializes in dealing with these specific types of Alzheimer’s cases.
What to Do If a Loved One is Being Abused
Unfortunately, elder abuse is not uncommon in the United States. Data from the National Council on Aging shows that approximately one out of every 10 people over the age of 60 have experienced some form of elder abuse. Some estimates show that as many as five million elderly people in this country are abused each year.
Nursing home residents with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia are much more likely to experience elder abuse, particularly when they are socially isolated in a nursing home setting. Without the watchful eye of family and friends, nursing home employees could take advantage of the perceived cognitive disabilities of patients with Alzheimer’s or anosognosia.
If you suspect that your loved one has been the victim of abuse in a nursing home in California, contact an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can use their resources to fully investigate what happened. They will work with law enforcement and other regulatory agencies to help ensure that your loved one is safe and determine the full extent of the abuse. An attorney will be able to hold any alleged abusers accountable for their actions and help ensure that the abuse victim and their family receives the compensation and closure they deserve.