These fascinating new images reveal how dementia can dramatically change the way patients view their own homes.
Mockups by Canadian residential care firm Amica Senior Lifestyles were made to help caregivers and family members understand the challenges of living with dementia.
However, the team cautioned, dementia is a very individual journey that can lead to a variety of cognitive effects, and as such experiences will vary between people.
A series of comparative images show the ways in which dementia can dramatically change the way patients perceive their own homes. In the image: how changes in perception caused by neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia can affect a living space
DR PALMER’S SEVEN TIPS FOR CAREGIVERS
- Build a knowledge base about the challenges dementia causes
- Know your symptomslike forgetfulness and hallucinations
- Create strategies to promote joy and minimize distressing triggers
- Similarity, track activities that comfort vs those that cause anxiety
- Connect with other caregivers to help combat caregiver fatigue and stress
- Talk to others about your challenges and feelings
- Ask for help when you need a break to help avoid burnout
Dementia is a global concern, but it is seen most often in wealthier countries, where people are more likely to live to old age.
According to the Alzheimer’s Society, more than 850,000 people in the UK are living with dementia, a number that is expected to exceed 1.6 million by 2040.
The vast majority of people with dementia are 65 or older, although it can affect younger people as well.
“It’s hard for us to imagine how the world could look and change for people living 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 views and behaviors can affect or be indicative that someone has dementia.”
“From noticing changes in behavior when entering rooms to neglecting plants, dementia can take many forms in a person’s lifestyle.”
“But, by using various tools, tools and approaches, people living with dementia can still function well, or even better than before.”
COGNITIVE EFFECTS IN THE GARDEN
As the following comparison shows, people with Alzheimer’s or another dementia condition often misplace items, having put them in a place that seemed to make sense at the time, but not later, when they are needed.
While this can be confusing in mild cases, like the errant pair of slippers in the pictures, it can also be dangerous – both the open pair of pruning shears on the couch and the messy garden hose pose safety hazards.
These can be inherently riskier for some people with dementia, who will tend to pay less attention when moving around their surroundings, increasing the risk of tripping, falling, and / or being injured by sharp objects.
Neurodegenerative diseases can also cause people to confuse their days and nights, for example, perceiving that it is the middle of the night in the face of external signs that it is actually daytime, a confusion that can be terrifying.
Finally, the flowers on the table are dead in the image on the right. Many people with dementia neglect the proper care of their home, plants, pets, and even themselves, and may not know what to do with the flowers after they are dead.
Mockups by Canadian residential care firm Amica Senior Lifestyles were made to help caregivers and family members understand the challenges of living with dementia. In the photo: a garden (left) experienced by someone with dementia (right). The items are in the wrong place, sometimes unsafe, the flowers have died and been left out, while the dark sky symbolizes the temporary confusion that some Alzheimer’s or dementia patients may experience.
CHANGES IN PERCEPTION IN THE LIVING ROOM
This before and after image shows how a normal living space can seem hideously distorted to people with dementia.
The busy polka dot wallpaper has ended up looking like a pattern of oversized ants crawling around, while the shadow under the table has gained the appearance of an unfathomable black void that the individual with dementia may want to avoid.
Cognitive disorders can also lead to increased sensitivity to light, represented below by the blindingly bright lamp, and other vision problems, including difficulties with the perception of distance and depth.
The latter, depicted here as a distorted view from both windows, can also create hazards, such as climbing stairs or trying to pour boiling water from a kettle to make a cup of tea.
“It’s hard for us to imagine how the world could look and change for people living with dementia,” said neuroscientist Heather Palmer, who is also a cognitive wellness consultant at Amica Senior Lifestyles and helped create the images. In the picture: a normal living room (left) could be disturbed by visual distortions in the mind of someone with dementia (right)
THE EFFECTS OF DEMENTIA IN THE KITCHEN
Just like the garden table, neglected flowers, potted plants, and moldy fruit appear in the image below and are joined by more misplaced items – in this case, lost glasses.
People with dementia also have more trouble breaking old habits and adjusting to new routines. Here this is manifested by stopping eating a pet that is no longer there.
Finally, the kitchen shots illustrate how a coping strategy like using reminder notes can be less effective than anticipated. Instead of sticking the notes in one place, a person with dementia can place them randomly around the house.
Additionally, people with cognitive disabilities may also experience trouble deciphering their own handwriting, representing once useful reminders like a random collection of letters that no longer make sense.
According to the Alzheimer’s Society, more than 920,000 people in the UK are living with dementia; a figure is expected to exceed one million by 2024. In the picture: a kitchen (left) could end up in a mess at the home of a person with dementia. , with misplaced items and unintelligible mementos scattered everywhere, neglected dead plants and moldy fruit, as well as dog food that has been taken out for a pet that is no longer present
WHAT IS DEMENTIA? THE KILLER’S DISEASE THAT STEALS FROM THOSE WHO SUFFER ITS MEMORIES
Dementia is a general term used to describe a variety of neurological disorders.
A GLOBAL CONCERN
Dementia is a general term used to describe a variety of progressive neurological disorders (those that affect the brain) that affect memory, thinking, and behavior.
There are many different types of dementia, of which Alzheimer’s disease is the most common.
Some people may have a combination of types of dementia.
Regardless of the type that is diagnosed, each person will experience their dementia in a unique way.
Dementia is a global concern, but it is seen most often in wealthier countries, where people are likely to live to a very old age.
HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE AFFECTED?
The Alzheimer’s Society reports that there are over 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK today, of whom over 500,000 have Alzheimer’s.
The number of people living with dementia in the UK by 2025 is estimated to rise to over 1 million.
In the United States, there are an estimated 5.5 million Alzheimer’s sufferers. A similar percentage increase is expected in the coming years.
As a person’s age increases, so does their risk of developing dementia.
Diagnosis rates are improving, but it is believed that many people with dementia have not yet been diagnosed.
IS THERE A CURE?
There is currently no cure for dementia.
But new drugs can slow its progression, and the earlier it is detected, the more effective the treatments.
Source: Alzheimer’s Society