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5 Dementia-Related Visual-Spatial Problems

Dementia symptoms include much more than memory loss. As your senior loved one progresses through the different stages of the condition, you may notice that he or she also experiences changes in visual-spatial abilities. Watch out for these five common issues that are caused by dementia so you can begin to include strategies in your loved one’s care plan that keep him or her safe.

1. Challenges with Depth Perception

Your loved one may develop issues with being able to judge the depth of stairs, curbs, and other areas where he or she needs to step up or down, which can make it difficult to safely perform activities such as climbing up stairs in the home or walking outside on the sidewalk. Seniors with decreasing depth perception are also at higher risk of falling if they must step over ledges to get into bathtubs or showers, since they may not place their feet correctly.

A professional caregiver can help your loved one age in place safely and comfortably. 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 home care services Anchorage, AK, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

2. Difficulty Recognizing Common Places

Wandering isn’t always caused by memory loss. Your loved one may have difficulty remembering where specific places are located. For instance, your loved one may walk past the bathroom and out the front door if he or she no longer recognizes the layout of the home, or he or she may get disoriented and confused in common places such as the local supermarket.

3. Problems Identifying Familiar Faces and Objects

Visual-spatial issues can also cause your loved one to have difficulty recognizing someone he or she knows well. While memory loss might cause your loved one to forget someone’s name, visual-spatial difficulty differs slightly because it involves being unable to put all the facial features together to recognize the person. Your loved one may also be unable to identify common objects in the home, and you may find that he or she claims to have lost items that are located right within his or her view.

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 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. Issues with Judging Distance and Speed

If your loved one is unable to accurately judge distances and speed, he or she may not be able to drive safely. Making these judgments requires visual-spatial skills that often begin to fade around the same time depth perception becomes an issue. If your loved one is still driving and begins to have frequent unexplained accidents, such as driving the car into the garage door, this could be a sign he or she needs assistance with transportation.

5. Inability to Understand Written Language

Reading also requires having good visual-spatial abilities. Your loved one’s condition may cause him or her to have difficulty separating words on a page, or he or she may see letters and numbers differently. While this can be frustrating for someone who is an avid reader, you can help your loved one out by providing audiobooks that satisfy the need for mental stimulation. Keep in mind this issue also affects the ability to read important information such as the labels on medicine bottles, which means you need to provide additional help at home.

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. Anchorage 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. If your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (907) 770-0907.