For most people, the first symptoms that come to mind when thinking of dementia are memory loss and other signs of cognitive decline. Cognitive decline is a hallmark effect of Alzheimer’s disease along with other types of dementia, but there are so many other areas of life that are affected as well. As a matter of fact, each of the five senses can be altered in a variety of ways that are important to understand.
What Is the Impact of Dementia on All Five Senses?
Following are some of the changes you may notice in a loved one with dementia:
- Taste and Smell: Many adults with dementia experience a change in their senses of smell and taste first. The decline in these abilities could lead the individual to consume food that has spoiled, drink a cleaning fluid or some other toxic substance, and remain unaware if something is burning on the stove or in the home. Make sure the older adult doesn’t have access to cleaning supplies or other dangerous materials, check the individual’s food supply routinely to make sure food is fresh, and make sure smoke detectors are operational throughout the home.
- Touch: It may also become difficult for the person to feel the difference between hot and cold, putting them at risk for burns along with other injuries. Safety-proof the stove, decrease the hot water heater temperature, and ensure the individual is dressed appropriately for the air temperature, both in the home and outdoors.
- Vision: The brain’s ability to interpret what the individual is seeing may cause confusion. It can also lead to an elevated likelihood of falling, as patterns on the ground, lighting, and shadows could be mistaken for three-dimensional objects. Many adults with dementia also experience struggles with depth perception. As much as possible, use contrasting colors to lessen these effects.
- Hearing: People with dementia may be able to hear just fine, but their auditory processing can make it confusing to understand what is being said. In addition, it can lead to anxiety when there are loud background noises and distractions in the environment. Speak slowly and clearly, using short, one-thought statements, and make use of pictures and other visuals when needed for more effective communication.
If you’re starting to notice the impact of dementia on all five senses of an older loved one, an in-home caregiver can help! Our trained and experienced professionals can reduce safety hazards while improving total wellbeing. We can help effectively manage and defuse the numerous challenging and intricate effects of dementia, including:
- Repetitive behaviors
- Fear and anxiety
- And much more
Contact us online or at 919-426-7522 for a complimentary in-home consultation to learn more about our specialized dementia care in Raleigh, Cary, Wake Forest, and the surrounding areas and how we can make life the very best it can be each day for someone you love.