Do Seniors with Alzheimer's Know They Have the Disease?

Are Older Adults Who Have Alzheimer’s Aware of Their Condition?

By , 9:00 am on

Awareness about Alzheimer’s disease is continuing to grow, yet people still have many questions about what it’s like for people who live with this condition. As a family caregiver, you may be grappling with questions such as whether to tell your senior loved one that he or she has Alzheimer’s. You may also sometimes wonder if your loved one plays up the symptoms to get what he or she wants. The truth is there’s no easy answer to any of these questions, but learning more about how the disease affects a person’s reasoning and awareness can help you begin to put together a plan to help your loved one through each stage.

How to Decide When to Share a Diagnosis

Many seniors are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s after they’ve progressed to the middle or later stages. You may be the one who hears the diagnosis from the doctor first, which leaves you in the difficult position of trying to figure out if it’s better to tell your loved one or just take care of him or her. In most cases, it’s best to try to tell seniors about the diagnosis, as this allows them to be involved in making plans for the later stages of the disease. However, keep in mind some seniors have strong emotional reactions when they hear they have Alzheimer’s. If you believe your loved one may give up hope, find ways to gently break the news.

How the Different Stages Affect Awareness

Seniors in the early stages of Alzheimer’s often notice they aren’t thinking clearly. They may be embarrassed when they can’t remember a close friend’s name or say something that leaves everyone confused. This can all change once reaching the later stages. In the final stages of Alzheimer’s, your loved one may no longer be aware of many things. Confusion about things like time and place may include not knowing he or she even has the condition. It’s believed seniors still have moments of clarity during the final stages, and your loved one might suddenly ask questions about what’s going on. Always answer respectfully and with as much honesty as you think your loved one can accept.

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 at-home care families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Why Some Seniors Aren’t Aware of Their Alzheimer’s

The changes that occur in the brain also affect self-perception and the understanding of reality. Once his or her reasoning abilities are affected, a diagnosis may not make sense to your loved one. Your loved one may also forget he or she has the condition, which could become a danger when trying to do things that are unsafe.

Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality elderly home care. Chandler families trust Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.

How to Help When a Senior Is in Denial

Your role as a caregiver requires you to help your loved one, even if your parent doesn’t know he or she needs assistance. If your loved one is in denial, avoid arguing about the diagnosis. Instead, take steps to protect him or her from harm. For instance, you could say you want to hire someone to help with cooking to make life easier when you know it’s to help your loved one avoid getting hurt.

The days, weeks, and months following an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can be challenging for both seniors and their families. However, these challenges can be made less stressful with the help of caregivers trained in professional Alzheimer’s care. Chandler Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one enjoy the golden years while simultaneously managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Reach out to us at Home Care Assistance if you need compassionate, professional Alzheimer’s care for your loved one. Call one of our dedicated Care Managers today at 480.448.6215 to learn about the high quality of our home care services.