As Alzheimer’s progresses, it can have a number of negative effects on a person’s day-to-day life. Some effects can include challenges with eyesight as well as hallucinations. These complications can lead to many safety concerns, and it’s important that caregivers of people with dementia are able to navigate eyesight and hallucination issues in the safest, most comforting way for everyone involved.
Eyesight Issues Caused by Alzheimer’s
Decreased eyesight can be very difficult to cope with on top of the other issues that come with Alzheimer’s. It can make everyday tasks like navigating a home or recognizing loved ones a challenge. As a caregiver, recognizing the many ways Alzheimer’s can affect someone’s vision can help you better prepare for how to help them.
Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia can have the following effects on vision:
- Problems with object recognition: Although someone with dementia may see an object correctly optically, their brains can misinterpret what they’re seeing. This can cause people with Alzheimer’s to struggle to name some of the things they see.
- Poor color differentiation: People with Alzheimer’s may have trouble distinguishing between colors, especially colors in the blue-violet range.
- Decreased peripheral vision: Alzheimer’s and other dementias can cause people to lose their peripheral vision, which can cause a range of safety challenges in their day-to-day lives.
- Loss of depth perception: Depth perception can begin to decrease as Alzheimer’s progresses, so people may have trouble judging distances or three-dimensional objects.
As a caregiver, there are also a few things you can do to help someone with Alzheimer’s cope with their vision problems:
- Avoid using dark rugs or rugs that will blend into the carpet.
- Paint the edge of each step so that they can see them better.
- Increase the lighting in their living space.
- Become familiar with their vision level so that you can report to a physician if the condition worsens.
Hallucinations Caused by Alzheimer’s
To add to the challenges of the effects of Alzheimer’s on eyesight, hallucinations can also create a big concern. As Alzheimer’s changes the brain, people can start to feel, see, and hear things that are not really there. These can create a whole new reality for the caregiver to take into account while caring for the individual.
There are some ways to respond to hallucinations caused by Alzheimer’s. First and foremost, it’s important to remember that these hallucinations feel very real to the person experiencing them. Therefore, it’s helpful to validate that person’s experience instead of arguing with them. This can help the hallucination pass without any major issues while ensuring that you don’t isolate the person with Alzheimer’s in their experience.
Here are some other helpful ways to respond to hallucinations caused by Alzheimer’s:
- Distract and redirect: Helping the individual focus on something other than their hallucinations can help them ease out of the episode without causing a stir. If they’re hearing voices, try starting a conversation with them to drown these other voices out. If they’re seeing things, try going through a family photo album with them to refocus their vision.
- Look for patterns: Sometimes, frequent hallucinations can be caused by triggers that aren’t apparent to a caregiver. Try tracking the episodes in a journal to pinpoint any patterns that may be avoidable with small changes like switching up their daily routine or helping them avoid a certain troubling memory.
- Offer simple, reassuring answers: It can be stressful to go through an unsettling hallucination. If the person under your care is experiencing fear or anxiety through these episodes, stay calm, and remind them that you’re there to help and protect them.
If you or a loved one needs dementia care in Raleigh or the nearby areas to manage eyesight and hallucination problems caused by Alzheimer’s, Aware Senior Care can help. We prepare only the most highly skilled caregivers to deliver expert, personalized dementia care. We would be more than happy to set up a free in-home consultation to discuss how we can help develop a care plan that addresses all of the dementia care concerns you have. Contact us online, or call us at (919) 436-1871 to learn more!