Are Alzheimer’s Patients Aware of Their Condition?
Does your parent or someone you know have Alzheimer’s? People with Alzheimer’s are more likely to be unaware about their illness, what is referred to as anosognosia and their memory loss, also known as mild cognitive impairment. A caregiver or a loved one of an Alzheimer’s patient is more likely to be distressed when the person experiences memory loss while the person doesn’t feel or realize that they have any memory problems at all.
It is this lack of awareness that creates a lot of burden on caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s.
At the beginning of the disease, an Alzheimer’s patient may not be aware of their inability to remember. This is because he or she cannot rationalize their behavior. Once the disease begins to progress, patients become confronted with their shortcomings more and more and they can become angry or frustrated even if they can’t place a finger on why.
In the later stages of Alzheimer’s, the patient may not be lucid enough to be aware of the passage of time or what is going on around them. By that time, they may not be aware of their Alzheimer’s at all. A patient may complain to his or her loved ones and caregivers that they don’t listen or that they are crazy because they know that they had forgotten dates and names.
This forgetting makes them feel embarrassed and upset. But as the patient continues to deteriorate, they stop saying this because they stop being aware that there were names or dates to remember in the first place.
Understanding this will help you know how to handle an Alzheimer’s patient who is frustrated and angry but does not know why.