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Alzheimer’s Disease & Its Effects on the Perception of Time

Time distortion is one of the many challenging effects of Alzheimer’s disease.

Wooden blocks with words on them. They spell out "Alzheimer's".

Time distortion is one of the many challenging effects of Alzheimer’s disease. As an essential function of the human brain, the perception of time is a large part of what keeps people grounded in reality and able to interact with others in a positive and normal way. Here’s how Alzheimer’s can affect a senior’s sense of time.

How Time Perception Is Lost

Clinically referred to as dyschronometria, the failure to accurately track the passage of time can make minutes seem like hours and vice versa. Dyschronometria occurs as the result of cerebellar damage and leads to short-term memory loss, diminished spatial awareness, and an increased inability to track time. If your aging loved one appears panicked or worried after you’ve stepped out for a very short time, his or her perception of how long you’ve been gone is likely to be quite different from your own. During the early stages of Alzheimer’s, many aging adults often wander aimlessly with little or no cognizance of the significant amounts of time that have passed.

If your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, compassionate help is just a phone call away. There are many reasons seniors might need assistance at home. Some may require regular mental stimulation due to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, while others might only need part-time assistance with exercise and basic household tasks. TheKey is a leading elder care provider. Families rely on our expertly trained caregivers to help their senior loved ones maintain a high quality of life.

Inability to Stay Connected with the Present Moment

Seniors with Alzheimer’s may also find it difficult to stay connected to the present moment. They may expect their adult children to be young children or their current homes to look like their former ones. During times of lucidity, these individuals can have a surprising ability to connect with and remain in the present moment. However, these events are often few and far between and are limited in their duration. Certain therapies and activities can help seniors feel more connected with their families despite the distorted sense of time, which may be beneficial in slowing the physiological progression of the neurological damage caused by Alzheimer’s.

Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to TheKey for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.

Behavioural Concerns

Not surprisingly, many of the behavioural disorders seniors with Alzheimer’s develop are directly related to time distortion. When the environments and people surrounding seniors don’t match their expectations, this can create a strong sense of loneliness. Many people with Alzheimer’s feel as though they’re being tricked and the whole world is conspiring against them, which can lead to anger, frustration, outbursts, and depression.

Helping Your Senior Loved One Feel More Connected

When providing your loved one with care, there are a number of things you can do to alleviate the mental and emotional effects of time distortion. For instance, devising and maintaining a regular daily schedule may provide the consistency your loved one needs to feel safe in his or her environment. Unexpected changes to the schedule can have a significant impact on the sense of overall balance and well being. Looking at and talking about old photographs, telling stories about past events, and keeping the organization of the living space fairly static are all things that can contribute to feelings of consistency and safety.

If your elderly loved one is living with Alzheimer’s and needs help managing the symptoms, turn to TheKey, a leading provider of Alzheimer’s care.

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