Many with Alzheimer’s Suffer Vision Problems

Posted by Kia Crawford on July 16th, 2012 in Body, Education, Mind, Research | No Comments

Working in the senior living industry and with residents with memory impairments at Dogwood Forest Assisted Living in Fayetteville, I know there are great challenges for those with Alzheimer’s.  The loss of memory is just one side affect of this disease. Many Alzheimer residents experience problems such as extreme confusion, mood swings, loss of appetite and tactility. glasses1-e1342479860601However, Alzheimer’s is exacerbated by vision problems specifically with depth of perception and visual spatial coordination. Mistakenly,  some may attribute some of the issues seen in Alzheimer’s patients to the loss of memory.  However, problems such as bumping into furniture and the inability to contrast between colors and objects can be contributed to changes in their vision. Many researchers believe the changes in vision are a result of the deterioration of the side of the brain responsible for processing visual information, the visual cortex, which is part of the cerebral cortex located in the occipital lobe. This can be difficult to diagnose from a ophthalmologist examination because there are no changes in the physical eye.

To combat this issue, very low tech simple solutions have been used. We use several of these methods at Dogwood Forest Assisted Living in Fayetteville. Below you will find a 7 tips to help people with Alzheimer’s whose vision has been compromised by the disease:

  1. Use contrasting colors for plates and silverware against white table cloths or white place mats.
  2. Use plates with dividers and sides to help residents with Alzheimer’s during meal times.
  3. Stay away from patterned carpets and flooring and use solid colors instead.
  4. Add table clothes to tables and brightly colored covers for sofas to help contrast between the floor and objects.
  5. Change the toilet seat to a contrasting color.
  6. Paint baseboards and door trims  bright colors.
  7. Use contrasting colored tape to identify changes in elevation in the home.