September 21, 2023 by Dean Bellefeuille

A woman talks to an older adult about the symptoms of dementia outside at a dinner table.

One of the first symptoms of dementia people usually think of is a loss of memory. While memory loss is the primary impact of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, there are many other parts of life impacted as well. In fact, each of the five senses can be altered in a variety of ways that are important to understand.

How Does Dementia Impact the Senses?

Following are some of the changes you may notice in a loved one with dementia:

  • Taste and Smell: Taste and smell are often the first senses impacted by dementia. This decline in taste and smell could make the person drink cleaning fluid, eat spoiled food, or not realize that something is burning on the stove. Lock cleaning supplies and other dangerous materials safely away, check the person’s food supply routinely to ensure food is fresh, and make sure smoke detectors are operational throughout the home.
  • Vision: The brain’s ability to interpret what the person is seeing can cause confusion. It can also lead to an increased risk of falling, as patterns on the floor, lighting, and shadows may be mistaken for three-dimensional objects. The older adult’s depth perception is often affected as well. If possible, use contrasting colors to limit these effects.
  • Hearing: Even if the older adult’s hearing is still fine, they may experience changes to their auditory processing that make it hard to understand what’s being said. It also 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 use pictures and other visuals as needed for more effective communication.
  • Touch: As dementia progresses, it may become difficult to feel hot or cold temperature, putting older adults at risk for burns and other injuries. Safety-proof the stove, reduce the hot water heater temperature, and ensure the person is dressed appropriately for the air temperature, both in the home and outdoors.

A professional home caregiver can help manage the symptoms of dementia. Our trained and experienced professionals can reduce safety hazards while improving quality of life. We can help effectively manage and defuse the many intricate and challenging effects of dementia, including:

  • Agitation
  • Wandering
  • Confusion
  • Aggression
  • Repetitive behaviors
  • Hallucinations
  • Sundowning
  • Anxiety and fear
  • And much more

Contact us at online or at (315) 579-HOME (4663) for a free in-home consultation to learn more about our specialized dementia care in Apulia Station, Baldwinsville, Brewerton, and the surrounding areas.