Most people assume memory loss and diminishing cognitive function are the worst parts of dementia, but a surprising number of seniors also end up with visual-spatial issues. These problems can be severe enough to make it difficult for seniors to remain independent even before they progress to more advanced stages of dementia. Being able to understand the reasons seniors are facing challenges with vision and spatial awareness can help caregivers identify the problem and take steps to address it.
1. Some Causes of Dementia Lead to Vision Problems
Sometimes seniors don’t experience visual issues just because they have dementia. Instead, it’s possible the underlying cause of the brain damage is also resulting in eye damage. This is particularly common in seniors who have vascular dementia, since high blood pressure also damages the eyes, but it can also occur in seniors who have diabetes.
If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of homecare families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
2. The Ability to Process Low-Contrast Items Diminishes
With dementia, the parts of the brain that process vision tend to undergo changes that can affect how seniors see things, and it may become difficult to comprehend and identify objects of similar colors or shades of darkness. Addressing this problem normally focuses on things like serving food on a plate that’s a drastically different color or replacing a carpet that’s too similar in color to a nearby wood floor.
3. The Brain Experiences Sights That Aren’t There
In some types of dementia, such as Lewy body dementia, seniors experience a fairly unusual type of visual problem. Instead of not being able to see what’s there, they hallucinate and see things that aren’t there. This tends to happen due to abnormalities in the amygdala, parahippocampal gyrus, and inferior temporal cortices of the brain. Having their brains trick them into seeing random people, figures, animals, or walls can make it very challenging for seniors to see the things around them.
Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to New Hampshire Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
4. Seniors Cannot Identify Things They See
Sometimes their eyesight is technically fine but seniors still experience frequent falls or other signs of visual-spatial issues, which happens when the brain cannot see an object, identify the object, and recall all known facts about the object’s size and shape. For example, seniors may be able to see stairs clearly but not comprehend the stairs signify a change in elevation.
5. Parts of the Brain Associated with Spatial Comprehension Are Impaired
Dementia happens when parts of the brain cannot function properly, so it’s possible for the parts of the brain that handle spatial understanding to stop working. Normally, spatial awareness relies on a complex exchange among parts of the brain that handle eyesight, balance, the understanding of relative size, bodily awareness, and knowledge of perspective. If any one of these connections or processing areas doesn’t work right, spatial comprehension decreases.
Even when families have the best intentions, caring for a senior loved one with dementia can be challenging. Fortunately, Home Care Assistance is here to help. We are a leading provider of dementia care. New Hampshire families can take advantage of our flexible and customizable care plans, and our caregivers always stay up to date on the latest developments in senior care. Rely on the professionals at Home Care Assistance to provide high-quality compassionate care for your loved one. Give us a call today at (603) 471-3004 to learn about our flexible in-home dementia care plans.