The complicated steps necessary to enable us to see are mind-boggling. In the blink of an eye, our brains can easily take transmitted details of the world all around us, interpret that information based on input from other senses, memories, and thoughts, and then build an understanding of the information to help with making us aware of what we’re seeing.
- Depth and/or color perception
- Motion recognition
- Peripheral vision
Furthermore, those with dementia can often experience a distorted sense of reality in the form of illusions. For example, someone with Alzheimer’s disease could see a shadow on the ground, and confuse it for something innocent, such as the family pet, or a threat, such as an intruder – which could present quite a challenge for family caregivers. Some other types of visual misperceptions in Alzheimer’s disease can consist of:
- Misinterpreting reflections in glass or mirrors for another individual. This may lead to distress in thinking some other person is present, or thinking that a washroom mirror reflection means the washroom is currently occupied by somebody else.
- Believing that images on TV are real and occurring within the room.
- Problems with sitting in a chair or on the toilet, being afraid of a fall.
- Stress in overstimulating environments that can cause confusion.
- Reaching for things that are not there, or missing the mark in attempting to pick up an item.
- Difficulties with self-feeding and drinking.
Below are some strategies to help with dementia and eyesight problems:
- Keep sufficient lighting through the entire home, and remove any specific items which produce stress or visual confusion if at all possible.
- Utilize contrasting colors whenever possible, such as serving dark-colored soup in a white bowl, or a fried egg on a blue plate. Whenever possible, carry this concept through to home furnishings, with darker furniture on a light carpet, and differing paint colors on trim vs. walls.
- Close blinds or curtains both at night and whenever the sunlight causes a glare.
- Take advantage of adaptive tools, such as remote controls and telephones with large buttons to provide the senior with ample opportunities for independence.
- Confirm the senior has ongoing access to eye care, and notify the eye doctor of the older adult’s dementia diagnosis.
Our highly skilled Alzheimer’s disease care team can help implement these strategies and more to reduce the effects of vision problems. Reach out to us to learn more by calling our St. Joseph home health care team at (269) 849-9252. For a full list of all of the communities we serve throughout Michigan, please visit our Service Area page or contact us at our other locations: (269) 763-5350 in Paw Paw, (269) 373-5444 in Kalamazoo or (269) 963-9888 in Battle Creek.