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Acceptance

kitkat67

Registered User
Dec 19, 2017
11
Does a Person with dementia ever accept their diagnosis?
My mum was diagnosed with Alzheimers 18 months ago and has never accepted the diagnosis. She becomes very angry when my dad tries to help her, and regularly accuses him of treating her like she is an idiot. It is so hard for him, as he is just trying to help, yet he feels he is always doing things wrong. She is also drinking a lot which he admits, but again he can't talk to her about it, as she will just get angry and it will cause an argument.
I am just wondering if she will become more accepting about it as the disease progresses or will it always be like this?
I just don't know how to help them both. My dad is quite depressed at the moment and I am scared that as mum's ability to do things gets worse, she will become more frustrated and angry, causing him more sadness.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
12,176
South coast
The inability to understand that you have something wrong with you (anosognosia) is, in fact a symptom of dementia. Not everyone with dementia gets this, but an awful lot do. My mum never believed that she had Alzheimers and, like your mum, would get very angry if anyone suggested it, so I never referred to it and instead talked about her " bad memory" if I had to talk about it at all. Some people with anosognosia will agree that they have dementia, but not understand that it is causing problems and they can no longer do things. My OH has this - he knows that he has ataxia causing balance problems, and will tell you this, but he does not understad that it causes problems with his walking. He thinks that his walking is fine, whereas, in reality, he falls over without a walking aid.
 

WeeDido

Registered User
Feb 24, 2020
18
west of scotland
Does a Person with dementia ever accept their diagnosis?
My mum was diagnosed with Alzheimers 18 months ago and has never accepted the diagnosis. She becomes very angry when my dad tries to help her, and regularly accuses him of treating her like she is an idiot. It is so hard for him, as he is just trying to help, yet he feels he is always doing things wrong. She is also drinking a lot which he admits, but again he can't talk to her about it, as she will just get angry and it will cause an argument.
I am just wondering if she will become more accepting about it as the disease progresses or will it always be like this?
I just don't know how to help them both. My dad is quite depressed at the moment and I am scared that as mum's ability to do things gets worse, she will become more frustrated and angry, causing him more sadness.
Hello just wanted to say that my husband was diagnosed with vascular dementia last March. He was somewhat confused as to why he had to attend a memory clinic, go through the tests and now has to take memantine every night. He never once asked "is there anything wrong with me" When a CPN came to see him for the first time to try and explain what the medication was for and to offer any help, answer any questions. My husband gave him a strange look and never even listened to him. I was ready with my questions ok. So my husband knows he's got dementia but I suspect deep down he doesnt understand what it means. We rarely ever talk about it. Perhaps your mother is feeling afraid and this could be why she gets upset and frustrated with your Dad. Could the GP help? point them in the way of Social work dept and get some much needed help. I'm sure you're trying to do your best. take care x
 

LynneMcV

Volunteer Moderator
May 9, 2012
3,945
south-east London
I was fortunate in that my late husband accepted his diagnosis right from the start and it definitely made it easier for us to navigate through the earlier stages when he was the most aware of his abilities changing, what various medications were for- and why we were attending memory clinic appointments etc.

We only really referred to the diagnosis directly in the first year or so, and even then it was rare. To be honest, he probably forgot about the diagnosis itself after a couple of years, though he was never upset or in denial at medical appointments if the subject was ever raised.

During this time we were also in contact with others who had a dementia diagnosis but who did not accept it. However, in general, they were happier to accept that they had 'a few memory problems' as opposed to any any form of dementia.

In fact, one of the support groups we attended barred the term dementia or any reference to a specific type of dementia - it was always referred to as 'memory problems '. It didn't affect me or my husband, but it did seem to make it easier for those who were in denial of their actual diagnosis to access much needed support.
 

Shedrech

Volunteer Moderator
Dec 15, 2012
9,046
Yorkshire
hi @kitkat67
you mention your mum is drinking ... probably talking to her about it will have no effect, except to irritate her ... might you and your dad quietly do something to alter what she drinks eg water the whisky, buy alcohol free/low alcohol wine and decant it into bottles she recognises (screw tops are really useful for this), have available bottles with only one measure in so she can drink that and your dad can promise to get more 'tomorrow' (top up each time from a hidden supply) or only have miniatures around, buy low alcolhol lager, offer her shandy instead of beer and use more lemonade each time .... I'm afraid since being up front doesn't work, you'll have to be sneaky for everyone's good, especially hers, as dementia and alcohol are a challenging mix

and suggest your dad chats to his GP about him, how all this is affecting him, so at least the GP knows the full picture
maybe ask if the GP will review your mum's meds as something may help her mood
 

kitkat67

Registered User
Dec 19, 2017
11
Thank you everyone.
I think the fact she doesn't accept the diagnosis isn't so much of a problem, (We don't refer to it at all), except in that it means that it stops either her or dad accessing any support groups that could help.
I'm more concerned about my dad than my mum in many ways. He is dealing with the changes 24/7 and unfortunately is quite a 'glass half empty' person. He only speaks to me really about what he's going through. I really think support groups could help him to share experiences. He has spoken to his GP who was sympathetic and prescribed anti-depressants. He is trying to avoid taking them though.
@Shredrech - the tips on the alcohol are great, although I'm not convinced she wouldn't notice that I'd watered down the wine!! Some things she is still very clued up on!
 

Lunamoon

New member
Sep 30, 2019
7
Thank you kitkat67, it sounds like you are having the same problems as me, particularly with the alcohol my Mum drinks. My Dad is miserable with the continuous arguments from my Mum who can be quite vicious at times and that's before she starts on the whiskey or wine. He only talks to me and is of the generation who don't ask for help.