PsychCentral: Improving Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care: The Eyes Have it

4 September 2018
Source: PsychCentral

By Deborah Bier, PhD
~ 4 min read

Seeing is believing, yes? In our day-to-day world, we believe that what we see around us is pretty much what others with healthy eyes can see. We see a clear glass filled with milk sitting on a white table, and we assume that others can see a clear glass filled with milk sitting on a white table, too.

But that’s not necessarily true if someone has Alzheimer’s Disease — they may only see the white table. Though it is not widely recognized, it is a fact that people with several types of dementia (but especially Alzheimer’s Disease) experience significant changes in the way their brains take in and interpret visual information, generally unconnected to eye health and function. These changes follow several predictable patterns that powerfully influence the behavior of people with dementia.

In this, Part 3 of a series of articles on Habilitation Therapy (HT) for Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias (ADRD), we focus on how this loss of function in the visual cortex of the brain helps us better understand a person with dementia. HT focuses on helping dementia patients function at the best of their still-present abilities, instead of trying to return lost functioning to them. (It is Rehabilitation Therapy that returns lost functioning; regaining former abilities is not known to be possible with ADRD.) (Alzheimer’s Association, 2011) Habilitation Therapy can be applied with enormous effectiveness to the difficulties that arise from these changes in visual processing.

Read the full article on the PsychCentral website

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