In Part One, Part Two and Part Three of our series on understanding the common signs of Alzheimer’s disease, we discussed disruptive memory loss, changes in personality or mood, difficulty solving problems and completing tasks, confusion with time and place and exhibiting poor judgment. The Alzheimer’s Association designated 10 signs in total to help you recognize if your loved one is displaying any of the common Alzheimer’s symptoms. In this post, we’ll discuss two more signs of Alzheimer’s disease: trouble with vision and misplacing objects.
It’s important to keep in mind that Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of the aging process, although some of the milder signs are common in many older adults. Because it is a progressive condition, the symptoms gradually worsen over time.
Signs of Alzheimer’s: Trouble with Vision
While many seniors face a decline in vision in their later years, individuals displaying signs of Alzheimer’s have more severe problems. For instance, they may have difficulty with depth perception and judging how far away objects are from their grasp, issues determining color contrast, or have trouble reading.
These problems with sight in individuals living with Alzheimer’s are known as “visuoperceptual difficulties.” Normal aging can lead to some of these same difficulties, such as having blurry vision, trouble adapting to changes in room brightness or loss of peripheral vision. However, Alzheimer’s leads to more serious vision problems.
For instance, the individuals might experience distorted reality or illusions. For example, the pattern in curtains or a bedspread may look like a person. Or, the brain can send distorted information to the eyes, resulting in misconceptions like thinking a dark mat or rug lying on the floor is a hole. Individuals with Alzheimer’s may also have trouble recognizing loved ones or even common objects, as damage to the brain leads to identification problems. Some individuals even experience hallucinations, seeing objects or people who aren’t in the room with them.
Signs of Alzheimer’s: Misplacing Objects
We all misplace things from time to time. You might forget where you last set down your glasses, your keys or even your wallet. However, after a few moments of thought, you can usually retrace your steps or remember where the lost item is.
For someone with Alzheimer’s disease, the damage caused to the brain does not allow for the person to retrace their steps the way you normally would. Or, the individual may have no recollection of using the item, let alone where they may have placed it.
It’s also common for people with Alzheimer’s to put items away in odd locations. For instance, putting their keys in the freezer. Or, they may hide items intentionally as they are fearful that others are stealing from them. This Alzheimer’s symptom can also lead to the person searching compulsively for belongings that may not be missing.
Knowing the signs of Alzheimer’s disease is key to an early diagnosis that could delay the progression of some of the symptoms and improve your quality of life. Stay tuned for part five of this series for more information.
American Senior Communities offers a person-centered, wellness-based model of dementia care within our Auguste’s Cottage program and our assisted living memory care apartments throughout our locations. Contact us today to request more information.