The intricate, comprehensive steps involved in making it possible for us to see are incredible. In the blink of an eye, our brains can take transmitted data from our environment, translate that information according to input from our other senses, thoughts, and experiences, and then establish an understanding of the information to make us aware of what it is we are viewing.
It’s no surprise then that dementia may have impacts on a person’s eyesight, ultimately causing misconceptions and visual deficits, especially in the areas of:
- Depth perception
- Color perception
- Movement recognition
- Peripheral sight
As if that were not daunting enough, seniors with dementia can experience a distorted sense of reality in the form of illusions. For instance, imagine a person with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia sees a shadow on the ground. The senior might mistake it for something harmless, such as the family’s pet cat, or a danger, like an intruder. Further kinds of visual misconceptions in dementia might include:
- Misinterpreting their own reflections in a mirror or window for someone else. This can lead the senior to assume someone else is there, and in the case of a bathroom mirror, may lead the senior to refrain from entering when needed, causing pain and distress.
- Believing that images on the television are real and happening in the room.
- Problems with sitting in a chair or on the commode, fearing a fall.
- Feeling overwhelmed in overstimulating settings that induce confusion.
- Reaching out for items that aren’t there, or missing the mark in trying to grab something.
- Difficulties with eating and drinking.
Try these ideas to assist a senior you love with dementia who is challenged by eyesight changes:
- Ensure adequate lighting in the home, and take away any items that are triggering anxiety or visual confusion, if at all possible.
- Utilize contrasting colors. For example, serve a light-colored cream soup in a dark bowl.
- Close all blinds or drapes at night and also whenever the sunlight causes a glare.
- Use adaptive products like remote controls and phones with larger buttons to help encourage the senior to maintain independence regardless of visual obstacles.
At-Home Care Company’s senior helpers in Urbandale, Iowa and the surrounding areas are committed to making sure the older adults we care for are always safe and thriving. Our specially trained dementia care experts understand the visual and other changes that develop, and are equipped with creative, compassionate approaches to help.