I was recently asked this question at a Caregiver Advisory Panel and there are 3 things I wish I had known when dementia was FINALLLLLYYYY diagnosed. The reality is that many things can cause memory issues and it’s important to seek out a doctor to help determine if there is something that could easily resolve cognitive issues. There are many times when a medication conflict or a vitamin deficiency can be a root factor.
I had two parents who were simultaneously diagnosed with different types of dementia (Mom was Vascular/then Multi-Infarct; Dad was Alzheimer’s). While my Dad seemed to understand something was wrong, and a few times over the course of being his adult family caregiver he asked me about Alzheimer’s, my Mom patently denied having a stroke which led to her initial vascular dementia diagnosis.
I thought she was just being stubborn which made things pretty difficult for all of us. When I learned about anosognosia, a word of Greek origin that roughly translates to “without knowledge of disease,” things made a lot more sense to me. I had learned to adapt because my Mom would not, but then once I learned of this, I understood that she really COULD NOT adapt. In general, the person is unaware of their condition and unable to accept it.
Knowing this can provide some insight into how you can best help someone diagnosed with dementia. I hope it can help make your journey with your loved one a little easier. Reflected.