Background: Impairment of deficit awareness is a clinically relevant feature of dementia affecting the maintenance of decision capacities, management and safety of patients with risk behaviors, and caregiver burden. This study assessed awareness of disease of patient/caregiver dyads and the relationship between unawareness on various domains and sociodemographic variables among elderly Brazilians with Alzheimer's disease (AD).
Methods: The dyads (n = 52), stratified by clinical severity and age groups, responded to the Assessment Scale of Psychosocial Impact of the Diagnosis of Dementia (ASPIDD). Statistical tests were used to compare clinical and sociodemographic variables and to calculate differences in rates of discrepant responses among mild and moderate dyads and between age groups, rates of discrepant responses among the ASPIDD domains, and association between awareness and age/age at onset.
Results: Awareness of deficits did not differ significantly among mild patients, whereas moderate patients showed impaired recognition on all domains. Older moderate dyads showed more discrepant responses, as compared to younger dyads at both severity stages. Mild patients could associate the disease with the cognitive deficits and recognized impairments on other domains. There was no significant relation of awareness with age at onset.
Conclusion: Mild AD patients could associate the disease process with the presence of cognitive deficits, and also the changes in the emotional response with difficulties in social, family, and affective relations. Moderate AD patients were less aware of the symptoms and did not attribute them to the disease.