Posted on: February 12, 2020

Alzheimer’s Disease

The complicated steps required to enable us to see are mind-boggling. In the blink of an eye, our brains can take transmitted information on the environment around us, interpret that information based on input from other senses, memories, and thoughts, and then create an understanding of the information to make us aware of what we are seeing.

It’s no wonder that people with Alzheimer’s disease can experience visual deficits and misperceptions, particularly in the areas of:

  • Depth and/or color perception
  • Contrast
  • Motion recognition
  • Peripheral vision

Moreover, individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease may often experience a distorted perception of reality in the form of illusions. For instance, someone with dementia might see a shadow on the ground, and mistake it for something harmless, such as the family pet, or a hazard, such as an intruder – which can pose quite a challenge for family caregivers. Other examples of visual misperceptions in dementia include:

  • Misinterpreting reflections in glass or mirrors for another person. This could possibly lead to distress in thinking another individual is there, or thinking that a restroom mirror reflection means the restroom is already occupied by another person.
  • Believing that images on television are real and occurring within the room.
  • Difficulty with sitting in a chair or on the toilet, being afraid of a fall.
  • Distress in overstimulating surroundings that can cause confusion.
  • Reaching for objects that are not there, or missing the mark in trying to pick up an item.
  • Problems with self-feeding and drinking.

Here are some techniques to help:

  • Keep sufficient lighting throughout the residence, and take away any particular items that produce stress or visual confusion if at all possible.
  • Utilize contrasting colors whenever you can, such as serving dark-colored soup in a white bowl, or a fried egg on a red plate. If at all possible, carry this idea through to home furnishings, with darker furniture on a light carpet, and differing paint colors on trim vs. walls.
  • Close blinds or curtains both in the evenings and whenever the sun’s rays cause a glare.
  • Make use of adaptive tools like remote controls and phones with large buttons to provide the older adult with adequate opportunities for independence.
  • Confirm the senior has ongoing access to eye care, and notify the eye doctor of the older adult’s dementia diagnosis.

The experienced senior care advocates at Alivity Care Advocates can provide further resources and support for those caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease. Give us a call at (248) 375-9125 for additional information.