According to the Alzheimer’s Association there are over 5 million Americans who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, most of whom are over the age of 65. Are you worried this disease or another form of dementia could be affecting a loved one in your family? Even your initial concern is an important step towards learning more about the health of your loved one and their risk of this disease. While seeing a medical professional is the very best way to get an official diagnosis, there are many signs and symptoms you can look out for. Fortunately by observing these, you will be able to provide your loved one’s doctor with useful information that may contribute to creating a more effective treatment plan.
1. Vision or Eye Impairment
One of the biggest reasons individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease don’t understand the world around them is because their vision isn’t functioning properly. This could be due to to loss of healthy vision (things are blurry or there’s a sensitivity to light) as well as the brain not properly interpreting the images that are seen through the eyes. Unfortunately either of these issues can can cause the person with dementia to experience:
Normally the result of damage to the vision, this causes the brain to have trouble making sense of what the eyes see. As a result, something as simple as a shadow on the wall could look more like a hole.
This is caused by a person misinterpreting what they are seeing for something that doesn’t actually exist. For example, a pattern on a painting might look like an animal or person that’s not really there.
When the brain is damaged, an individual can have trouble identifying people or even objects that they are familiar with. For example, someone might mistake their grand-daughter for their daughter.
Hallucinations are different from illusions because the brain is seeing or even hearing something that’s not actually there.
If you have noticed a loved one having difficulty reading, mistaking their orientation (running into the wall), having a limited range of vision, or becoming disoriented (especially seeing things that aren’t there), then take notes and schedule a doctor’s appointment as soon as possible.