The intricate steps that make it possible for us to see are incredible. In the blink of an eye, our brains can easily take information sent from our environment, interpret that information along with feedback from our other senses, thoughts, and experiences, and then formulate an understanding of that data which will make us aware of what it is we are seeing.
It’s hardly surprising then that dementia may cause eye issues, leading to misperceptions 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 suffer 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 wall. The senior might mistake it for something harmless, like the family’s pet cat, or a danger, like a burglar. Further forms of visual misperceptions in dementia may include:
- Mistaking their own reflections in a mirror or window for someone else. This could lead the senior to believe someone else is there, and in the case of a bathroom mirror, may lead the senior to refrain from entering when needed, causing irritation and distress.
- Believing that images on the television are real and going on in the room.
- Issues with sitting in a chair or on the toilet, fearing a fall.
- Feeling overwhelmed in overstimulating settings that can cause 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 help a senior with dementia who’s challenged by eyesight changes:
- Make sure there is enough light throughout the home, and take away any things that are causing stress or visual confusion, if at all possible.
- Use contrasting colors. For example, serve a light-colored cream soup in a dark-colored bowl.
- Close all shades or curtains at night as well as whenever the sunlight causes a glare.
- Use adaptive equipment like remote controls and telephones with larger buttons to help enable the senior to maintain self-reliance in spite of visual problems.
At Home With You Senior Care, a provider of home care in Ellicott City, MD and nearby areas, we’re committed to making certain the older adults in our care are always safe and thriving. Our highly trained dementia care professionals understand the visual and other changes that occur, and are equipped with innovative, compassionate approaches to help.