What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Alzheimer’s disease? Perhaps it’s memory problems, or confusion and disorientation. One particular area that gets less attention, however, is the link between Alzheimer’s and vision changes. If you’re caring for someone with dementia, understanding these changes is key to understanding why certain behaviors are occurring and how to best help the person manage them.
There are three common vision problems to watch for:
- Narrowing of the field of vision. Some degree of peripheral vision change is a normal part of growing older. Yet for someone with dementia, the change can be quite dramatic. Imagine trying to go through your daily activities while looking through a pair of binoculars. This gives you some perspective into how someone with dementia may be seeing the world, with perhaps only a 12” visual range.
- Decreasing visual input. In the later stages of dementia the brain may be unable to process information being received from both eyes. When this happens, the senior begins to see with only one eye. This makes it difficult to discern whether something is 2- or 3-dimensional, making a pattern on the carpet appear to be something that may cause a tripping hazard. It can also make it extremely hard to judge the height of a chair and to sit down safely.
- Changing depth perception. If you’ve ever watched someone with dementia grasping at something that isn’t there, you may have assumed the person was having hallucinations. While this may be the case, there may be another root cause: the loss of depth perception. Imagine trying to pick up an object that appears to be several inches in front of you, while in reality it’s several feet away, and you’ll have a better understanding of what the person is experiencing.
At Nightingale Homecare, we offer a unique approach to dementia care. Our Connections Dementia Care program is staffed by skilled care professionals who have been trained by Dr. Verna Benner-Carson’s Alzheimer’s Whisperer® program. It allows us to step into the world of someone with dementia in order to effectively ease challenging behaviors and emotions, and to teach these skills to family caregivers for the highest possible level of care.
Our dementia care services include:
- Cognitive and functional assessments
- Intervention strategies for each stage of the disease
- Collaboration and communication with the senior’s physician
- Assistance with long-term planning and access to community resources
- Educational materials for family members
- And more
Available up through and including full-time, around-the-clock care, we’re here with as much or as little assistance as needed to make life the best it can be — both for the person with dementia and those caring for them.
Contact Nightingale Homecare, the leading provider of at-home care in Peoria and the surrounding areas, at (602) 504-1555 to learn more about our dementia care services and to schedule your free in-home assessment.