Flexibility is critical when you are a family caregiver for an elderly adult with Alzheimer’s disease, but when your senior also has anosognosia, it is even more important. Anosognosia is a lack of insight or awareness, meaning your parent does not know that they have Alzheimer’s disease, or that they are suffering from the symptoms and challenges associated with the disease. This condition impacts a large percentage of those who are living with Alzheimer’s disease, particularly those who are in moderate to advanced stages of the disease. It can be consistent, meaning your aging parent will not ever have awareness of what they are facing, or it can be temporary. In either circumstance, this lack of awareness can make it more difficult for you to give them the care they need because they do not feel it is necessary, or that there is anything wrong necessitating care. Adapting your care to address these issues is an important step toward ensuring your senior gets what they need, while also avoiding potentially negative consequences.
Use these tips to adapt your care for a senior with anosognosia:
- Find the times of day when your parent is at their most cooperative and responsive, and focus as much of your care efforts into that time as possible. This helps to reduce the chances of conflict and resistance.
- Create a routine that includes everything your parent does in a day, from getting up and getting dressed, to eating their meals and bathing, to going to bed at night. Follow this routine precisely every day so your parent does not have to rely on their memory skills or judgment to determine what’s next in their day. This reduces the chances of confusion, disorientation, making poor decisions, or arguing with you about what they are supposed to do next.
- Encourage your senior to participate in their care as much as possible. Even when they think they don’t need to do something, or they have done something that needs to be fixed, encourage them to be a part of it. Don’t lay blame, accuse them of anything, or embarrass them about their limitations, but explain what needs to be done and ask them to be a part of it. This can help them to feel more like they are just participating in life rather than being “cared for” or told what to do.
- Don’t take their behaviors personally. They may become defensive or angry when you are caring for them, but this is just their confusion and the disease affecting them. When they begin to get upset, be willing to step back from what you are doing, and adjust your care approach to managing their reaction first, then their immediate needs such as safety needs, then any other needs. Be flexible about how you manage their tasks while also trying to keep their schedule as consistent as possible.
As a family caregiver, you will need many characteristics and personality traits to help you cope, and ensure you are giving your aging parent the care they really need. One of these is flexibility. While you may go into your care routine with your senior with a specific idea of the care tasks you will give, the schedule you will follow, and how you will manage the other responsibilities and needs in your life, you may find yourself in the position of your plan not working as well as you want it to, or falling short of fulfilling everything your senior needs. This is when home care can make a tremendous difference. Being flexible and introducing an in-home senior care services provider into your care routine ensures your parent gets everything they need, even when their needs and challenges change. This allows you to feel more confident and at ease knowing your senior can enjoy the highest quality of life, best health and well-being, and most independence possible as they age in place.
If you or an aging loved one are considering home care in Katy, TX, contact the caring staff at Personal Caregiving Services at 832-564-0338. Providing Care in Houston, Bellaire, West University Place, Katy, and Sugar Land and the surrounding areas.
In 1989 after selling his family owned food service business, Mr. Gerber pursued his compassion for the elderly by completing his geriatric education and training requirements to be a licensed nursing home administrator (LNFA) from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.Previously he received his undergraduate business degree from the University of Texas at Austin and his Masters in business administration (MBA) from the University of Houston.In 2003, Mr. Gerber earned his Certification to be a Senior Advisor (CSA).
Sid Gerber is a Google Verified Author