The intricate, detailed steps connected to making it possible for us to see are incredible. In the blink of an eye, our brains are able to take information sent from our environment, decipher that data according to feedback from our other senses, thoughts, and experiences, and then develop an understanding of the data which will make us conscious of what it is we are seeing.
It’s no surprise then that dementia may contribute to common vision problems, leading to misconceptions and visual deficits, especially in the areas of:
- Depth perception
- Color perception
- Movement recognition
- Peripheral sight
As though that weren’t challenging enough, seniors with dementia may experience a distorted sense of reality in the form of delusions. To illustrate, imagine a person with Alzheimer’s disease or other type of dementia sees a shadow on the ground. The elderly individual might mistake it for something harmless, like the family’s pet cat, or a threat, like a burglar. Further forms of visual misperceptions in dementia could include:
- Mistaking their own reflections in a mirror or window for someone else. This can lead the senior to think someone else is there, and in the case of a bathroom mirror, may lead the senior to refrain from going in when needed, causing irritation and distress.
- Assuming that scenarios on TV are real and happening in the room.
- Problems with sitting in a chair or on the toilet, fearing they will fall.
- Feeling overwhelmed in overstimulating surroundings that create confusion.
- Reaching out for items that aren’t there, or missing the mark in trying to pick up something.
- Difficulties with eating and drinking.
Try these suggestions to assist a senior with dementia who is challenged by vision changes:
- Make sure there is enough light throughout the home, and take away any items that are leading to anxiety or visual confusion if possible.
- Utilize contrasting colors. For instance, serve a light-colored cream soup in a dark-colored bowl.
- Close all window blinds or drapes at nighttime as well as whenever the sunlight causes a glare.
- Use adaptive equipment like remote controls and telephones with larger buttons to help encourage the senior to maintain self-reliance in spite of common vision problems.
Inspired Home Care’s Barrington memory care experts are dedicated to ensuring that the older adults we care for are always safe and thriving. Our skilled dementia care professionals understand the visual and other changes that occur, and are equipped with innovative, compassionate ways to help.
To learn more about our in-home dementia care services, or if you want to request additional resources associated with caring a senior at home, contact us any time at 847-787-7572. Visit our Locations Served page for a full list of the communities where we provide care.