Eyesight, Hearing, and Dementia/ How Are They Related?
As we age, it isn’t uncommon for our senses to become less than what they were. Our eyesight and hearing tend to go. Our tastebuds change, our skin becomes less sensitive, and we start to forget things.
We naturally associate these things with aging, but they can also be associated with dementia. It has been found that even experiencing the decrease of even one sense can increase your chances of developing dementia.
The impairment of more than one sense can increase those chances even higher. For a person who is already showing signs of dementia, the impairment of senses can cause even more problems.
Eyesight and Hearing Loss
Someone experiencing the loss of eyesight and hearing can be similar to some of the early signs of dementia. For this reason, it can make it much more difficult to make a confident diagnosis of dementia.
Someone with hearing loss may have trouble following a conversation, making them tune out or get confused. Losing eyesight makes it difficult to get around, recognize people and things, and is very frustrating.
Someone with dementia can also have visual difficulties. Dementia affects the parts of their brain that process visual information coming from the eyes. They can have vision problems with healthy eyes.
Because hearing and vision loss can be present anyhow, it makes it much more difficult to pinpoint dementia. It can be very important to have regular hearing and vision tests.
Is it Hearing Loss or Dementia? How To Tell The Difference
For hearing, there can be the use of a hearing aid. This can help to separate whether it was just hearing loss or something worse.
Make sure the surrounding area is quiet. Even with hearing aids, they often can’t separate sound up close or in the background.
Use gestures when speaking. Incorporate visual aids to help, like pictures or diagrams.
Exaggerate your facial expressions. This can help people discern the mood of what you are trying to express to them.
For vision, eye tests will be helpful. If they can read and comprehend what they are reading.
Are they able to identify people or items? With or without glasses?
Do they function better in lower light, or can they function with low and bright?
Can they maneuver through the room without hitting or bumping into things? Is it the light, their vision, or have they forgotten they have been there before?
With the loss of vision or dementia, there are ways to make it easier for them to function.
Make passageways wide and open. Use contrasting colors to help them determine the differences. Avoid patterns.
Keep sharp edges away. Get softer corners, padded sides, and keep floors clear of clutter.
Take them through the place telling them as you go. Point out where things are and let them feel them.
Audio labels can help them remember and recognize items. They are touch-sensitive and play a pre-recorded message identifying objects.
Get contrasting colors for dishes, as well. You may want to move to shutter-proof dishes, depending on their progression.
Talk your way through an encounter. Speak before you engage. Perhaps call them by name and say who you are.
Tell them what you are doing; “I’m moving to your left, your tea is just in front of you”.
Keep the lights bright all the time. Keep their bedroom lighted, as well. Several nightlights or low lamps can help them remember where they are.
A small, portable magnifying glass can help them with smaller objects.
Memory Care Home
For people with dementia, hearing or vision loss is extremely difficult to cope with. It can only make it more frustrating for the person. They may lash out or they may just retreat on their own.
A small memory care home is fully equipped to cope with all of these situations. The staff is trained and able to guide the person through their day. The facilities are designed with them and their needs in mind.
It can be an unnecessary worry when your loved one has dementia. Coupled with the loss of senses, it is too difficult to cope for everyone. Why not get your loved one the expert care they need, at a memory loss care home.
Light Heart Memory Care homes are specially designed for 8 residents. That way if feels more like a family.
In honor of our founder Pat Mack, we are carrying on the tradition of caring for our residents in
"The Light Heart Way"
to schedule a tour of Light Heart Memory Care.