Teaching Now Living: Part 7-Dealing with Denial


Families are often in denial of the disease. Ellie’s sister is coming to town and wants her to accompany her to their High School reunion. Sarah has nicely mentioned to her Aunt that Ellie is not interested in the reunion. Sarah explained that because of her condition her Mom would not be familiar with the location it’s being held at, leading to confusion and increased dependence. The Aunt believes that Ellie is fine and just as sharp as ever. Ellie only ever speaks with her sister on the phone and is able to mask her condition.

Common reasons for dementia denial:

They have not yet noticed their symptoms

Coping mechanism Think it is just part of getting older Stigma of dementia

Tip: Remember that others do not share the front-row seat that caregivers have on changes taking place.

Explain that people with early dementia often go on "social autopilot" during brief encounters. They may seem perfectly normal because they rely on long-honed social graces and habits (making small talk, reminiscing, and reacting appropriately, etc.)

Invite someone having doubts to spend longer time periods with your loved one to gain a realistic picture of memory loss and other cognitive changes.

Help others understand that cognitive changes are not simply a function of "old age", share articles about what dementia is and how it compares normal ageing.

Help others understand that cognitive changes are not simply a function of "old age", share articles about what dementia is and how it compares normal ageing.


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