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Why do we keep making wheelchairs with black material? Have you ever tried to get a person with severe memory and cognitive impairment to sit on an black chair? They have the feeling they are falling. If you want a person with those impairments to stop trying to exit the front door, just set a black rug in front of it. Vision and perception is very difficult with these types of dementia. I am often asked why a person will go the bathroom and relieve themselves in a black garbage can which is sitting right next to the toilet. It is the same reason people won’t get in a white bathtub in a white bathroom and sit down on a white bench. It’s the same reason they are afraid of water coming down in their face in the shower, why they are afraid of the person in the mirror.

 

 

 

The occipital lobe in the brain controls perception and vision and it badly betrays our friends with certain dementia diseases. The color black appears like a hole. Water is scary when it’s raining down on you. They can’t see white and clear colors well. The person in the mirror isn’t them. That person is old and they are younger, much younger, by 50 years or more. Objects are no longer what they think they are, not even close. The world has become a scary place.

Driving down the street it looks like the world is spinning around them. Bicycle riders pulling up next to you in the car, scare the living daylights out of you. Caregivernation is often dismayed when they scare their person when they walk up next to them. The person with diagnosis may jump a foot because they didn’t see or hear you coming. This part of the brain wreaks havoc when impairment sets in. The sooner we realize this, the sooner we can begin using strategies to overcome these obstacles. This is where resilience begins.

 

Jill Lorentz is the President and Owner of Summit Resilience Training, Dementia Education for Caregivers. She is also the Host of KEZW Cruisin’1430am Dementia Resilience with Jill Lorentz which airs Sunday’s 10:00-10:30 am MST. Jill teaches families and professionals strategies and techniques which help them to feel understood and allows them to relieve stress so they can enjoy their lives while caregiving.