A series of comparison images show the ways in which dementia and similar conditions can drastically change the way patients view their own homes.
The mock-ups of a Canadian residential care company Amica Senior Lifestyles were created to help caregivers and family members understand the challenges of living with dementia.
However, the team cautioned that dementia is a very individual journey that can lead to a range of cognitive effects and as such experiences will differ from person to person.
A series of comparison images show the ways in which dementia can drastically change the way patients view their own homes. Pictured: How the changes in perception caused by neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia can affect a living space
DR PALMER’S SEVEN TIPS FOR Groomers
- Build a knowledge base about the challenges caused by dementia
- Learn its symptoms, such as forgetfulness and hallucinations
- Create strategies to bring joy and minimize troubling triggers
- Likewise follow the activities those who comfort versus those who cause fear
- Connect with other health care providers to combat caregiver fatigue and stress
- Talk to others about your challenges and feelings
- Ask for support when you need a break to avoid burnout
Dementia is a global problem, but it is most common in wealthier countries, where people age earlier.
According to the Alzheimer’s Society, more than 850,000 people in the UK are living with dementia – a number projected to exceed 1.6 million by the year 2040.
The vast majority of people with dementia are 65 and older, although it can affect younger people as well.
“It’s hard for us to imagine what the world looks like and changes for people with dementia,” said neuroscientist Heather Palmer, who is also a cognitive wellness consultant at Amica Senior Lifestyles and helped create the images.
“However, it is important to understand that certain beliefs and behaviors can affect or indicate a person with dementia.”
“From noticing changes in behavior when walking into rooms to neglecting plants, dementia can take many forms in a person’s way of life.”
“But by using different tools and tools and approaches, people with dementia can still function well – or even better than before.”
COGNITIVE EFFECTS IN THE GARDEN
As the comparison below shows, people with Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia have often lost items after placing them in a place that made sense at the time, but not later when the items are needed.
While this can be confusing in mild cases, like the errant pair of slippers in the photos, it can also be dangerous – both the open secateurs on the sofa and the sloppy garden hose pose a safety risk.
These can be inherently more risky for some people with dementia, who tend to pay less attention when moving around their environment, increasing the risk of tripping, falling and / or injuring themselves from sharp objects.
Neurodegenerative diseases can also cause people to confuse their days and nights, for example thinking it is the middle of the night in light of outward signs that it is in fact day – a confusion that can be frightening.
Finally, the flowers on the table are dead in the right image. Many people with dementia neglect to take good care of their homes, plants, pets, and even themselves, and may not know what to do with the flowers once they die.
The mock-ups from Canadian residential care company Amica Senior Lifestyles were created to help caregivers and family members understand the challenges of living with dementia. Pictured: a garden (left) as experienced by someone with dementia (right). Items are in the wrong place, sometimes unsafe, the flowers are dead and left out, while the dark sky symbolizes the temporary confusion that some patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia can suffer from
CHANGES OF PERCEPTION IN THE LIVING ROOM
This before-after image shows how an ordinary living space can seem frighteningly distorted to people with dementia.
The busy spotted wallpaper ends up looking like a pattern of oversized ants crawling around, while the shadow under the table has taken on the appearance of a black, bottomless void and one that the person with dementia may want to avoid.
Cognitive impairment can also lead to increased light sensitivity – shown below by the blindingly bright bulb – and other vision problems, including problems with distance and depth perception.
The latter, shown here as a distorted view from both windows, can also pose dangers, such as when climbing stairs or trying to pour boiling water from a kettle to make a cup of tea.
“It’s hard for us to imagine what the world looks like and changes for people with dementia,” said neuroscientist Heather Palmer, who is also a cognitive wellness consultant at Amica Senior Lifestyles and helped create the images. Pictured: A normal living room (left) can be transformed by visual distortions in the mind of someone with dementia (right)
THE EFFECTS OF DEMENTIA IN THE KITCHEN
As on the garden table, neglected flowers, potted plants, and moldy fruit appear in the picture below and are joined by more misplaced items – in this case, lost glasses.
People with dementia also experience greater difficulty breaking old habits and adjusting to new routines. Here this is reflected by putting out food for a pet that is no longer there.
Finally, the kitchen shots show how a coping strategy, such as using reminder notes, can be less effective than intended. Instead of hanging the notes in one place, someone with dementia can place them randomly around the house.
In addition, individuals with cognitive impairment may also have difficulty deciphering their own handwriting, rendering once useful memories as a random collection of letters that are no longer accurate.
According to the Alzheimer’s Society, more than 920,000 people in the UK are living with dementia – a number expected to exceed a million by the year 2024. Pictured: A kitchen (left) could become a mess in the home of a person with dementia, with lost items and unintelligible memories littered everywhere, neglected dead plants and moldy fruit, as well as dog food for a pet that is no longer present
WHAT IS DEMENTIA? THE KILLER’S DISEASE THAT ROBS SUFFERS FROM THEIR MEMORIES
Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a range of neurological conditions
Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a series of progressive neurological conditions (affecting the brain) that affect memory, thinking and behavior.
There are many different types of dementia, with Alzheimer’s disease being the most common.
Some people may have a combination of types of dementia.
Regardless of which type is diagnosed, each person will experience their dementia in their own unique way.
Dementia is a global problem, but it is most common in wealthier countries, where people are likely to live to be very old.
HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE AFFECTED?
The Alzheimer’s Society reports that there are more than 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK today, of which more than 500,000 have Alzheimer’s disease.
It is estimated that the number of people with dementia in the UK will rise to over 1 million by 2025.
In the US, there are an estimated 5.5 million people with Alzheimer’s disease. A comparable percentage increase is expected for the coming years.
As a person’s age increases, so does the risk of dementia.
The number of diagnoses is improving, but it is thought that many people with dementia are still undiagnosed.
IS THERE A TREATMENT?
Currently, there is no cure for dementia.
But new drugs can slow its progression, and the sooner it’s noticed, the more effective the treatments are.
Source: Alzheimer’s Society