Millions around the world are facing the harsh reality of memory loss.
Sometimes, memory loss is just a part of the ageing process. The mind is less capable of retaining things as it begins the process of winding down in old age. However, memory loss can also be a sign of cognitive disease. When that’s the case, it poses a challenge for those caring for the aged.
The problem is that some of the elderly don’t like to admit they have a problem. The old will hide it any manner possible, and sometimes that becomes easy.
Dementia can eat away at who they are and ruin their identity. No one wants to lose that, but often people don’t want to admit they might have the condition. The situation means that it is important for aged care providers to know how their patients might try to slip a symptom past them.
To provide help, here are five behaviours that they might use.
Have they suddenly stopped doing something they used to love?
Refusing to do a simple chore or playing a simple game they once enjoyed can be an indication. The patient might not remember how the activity worked. Activities that used to be second-nature can be a sign of their brains not functioning properly anymore.
Related to this, they might also be adamantly refusing to try something new. This situation is only true in some cases since a lot of people aren’t fond of experimentation later in life.
Have they started covering up problems?
When interacting with friends and family, are they having trouble? Spouses tend to conceal for their loved ones, completing tasks or taking over conversations.
If the patient just stops, for no apparent reason, it could indicate deteriorating cognitive skills.
Denial is more than just a river in Egypt. People who deny their cognitive impairment sometimes are fully aware they have a problem, but deny that it’s there.
They might use a reasonable-sounding excuse such as forgetfulness that comes with age or being tired. The elderly say this because it helps the mind deny that something is wrong, whether out of pride or out of fear of the truth.
Admitting the truth and facing a change in circumstances can be hard to accept.
Some elderly keep it a secret because they want to remain “independent.”
Seniors don’t always want to admit they need help. In their minds, they’ve lived on their wits for years and can keep doing so. Pride and stubbornness keep them from realising they’re not what they used to be anymore.
People with a high intellect can hide the signs of dementia for a longer period. However, even people of average intelligence can figure out how to cover up the symptoms.
Finally, some patients take a step beyond denial.
Anosognosia is a lack of awareness that one is impaired. The elderly don’t recognise the illness. Alzheimer’s patients often display this. The condition is hard to define more precisely, but data suggests it comes from changes in anatomy or damage to parts of the brain.
They don’t actively deny it – but they can’t help but not see the problem. You, as a care provider, have to learn to see it for them.