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5 Factors that Contribute to Visual-Spatial Issues in Seniors with Dementia

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Dementia-related visual-spatial problems include symptoms such as being unable to perceive the depth and space between objects. Seniors may also have difficulty understanding what they see, and some may experience hallucinations related to issues with their visual and spatial abilities. For example, your aging loved one may see a shadow on the floor and think it’s a puddle or be unable to properly judge how high to pick up his or her feet to go up stairs. Visual-spatial issues are more than just a nuisance. They place your loved one at risk for serious accidents. Understanding why these changes in abilities occur can help you work with your family to create a care plan for your loved one’s dementia diagnosis.

1. Memory Loss

Most of a person’s visual-spatial abilities develop over time. When your loved one was a child, he or she had to learn how to estimate the depth of objects and determine how things fit together in space. In fact, a large part of how you see and perceive things is based on your body’s memory of them. As your loved one’s memory loss progresses, he or she also loses some understanding of these concepts. You can help your loved one overcome this challenge by focusing on helping him or her retain memories. Playing games together and helping your loved one stay active can slow down the loss of visual-spatial abilities.

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 senior care Wellesley, MA, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

2. Plaques and Deposits in the Brain

Certain types of dementia involve changes that occur within the brain. For instance, Lewy body dementia involves protein deposits developing in the nerve cells. Other types of dementia may involve plaques that develop within certain regions of the brain. When these deposits and plaques occur in parts of the brain that affect a person’s visual and spatial perception, abilities in these areas decrease.

3. Traumatic Brain Injuries

Seniors who have dementia are at greater risk of falling or receiving head injuries due to misjudging the safety of activities. Traumatic brain injuries cause further issues with thinking and reasoning abilities that contribute to difficulty with spatial awareness. Protecting your loved one from accidents can preserve his or her brain functioning.

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. Disrupted Communication Among Brain Cells

Dementia can also cause neural synapses within the brain to misfire. In some cases, this can be due to blockages between the cells that are caused by plaques and protein deposits. In other cases, the true cause of this disrupted communication is unknown. The best way to prevent this issue is to encourage your loved one to continue to strengthen his or her neural synapses. Doing puzzles and exercises such as step-ups force the brain to continue to communicate about where objects belong in space.

5. Medication Side Effects

Your loved one’s medications may also be to blame for the visual-spatial problems. Some medications increase confusion or cause side effects such as dizziness. Always watch to make sure your loved one tolerates new medications well. If not, you may need to make accommodations to help your loved one stay safe while he or she learns to manage changes in visual-spatial awareness.

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. Wellesley 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. Call one of our dedicated Care Managers today at (781) 239-0060 to learn about the high quality of our in-home dementia care services.

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