Spatial awareness

mel

Registered User
Apr 30, 2006
1,656
62
Sheffield
Hi all
I don't want to appear intellectually challenged but can anyone explain "spatial awareness" to me?
I can't seem to find much on it....
Mum grows increasingly unsteady on her feet as if she's going to fall over...is that to do with it?
Wendy
 

connie

Registered User
Mar 7, 2004
9,519
Frinton-on-Sea
Hi mel............

I can only speak from Lionel's condition. He cannot sit down unaided, as he is not aware where the chair is, even if you push it right behind his knees.

He fails to comprehend simple commands such as "turn sideways, shuffle forward" and tries to sleep with his feet on the pillows and head to the bottom of the bed.

You have to touch his arm or hand to get his attention, because he cannot follow the sound of your voice.

Oh gosh, writing it down like this sounds a nightmare, but I have learnt to cope, or should I say, he has learnt to adapt to different ways.

He is still the most funny, warm, sometimes quite articulate man I have ever met.
but you should hear us in the toilet..................
"steady now, try one step back, NO BACK, now bend your knees, AND SIT..........with me trying to lift and push him into position.

Still nobody said life would be easy, did they. Hope this helps.
 

Brucie

Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
12,413
near London
With dementia, memory is just one thing that is impaired with the brain, but the brain has many more functions, most of which are automatic for someone without dementia.

As far as I know, when spatial awareness is affected, it is just the brain losing the ability to interpret the sensory signals it receives - from eyes, sense of balance, hands, hearing.

So, things like receiving a mug of tea, or walking with a mug, can be a problem when spatial awareness goes. Tea is often spilt. What is up may not be able to be translated to the mug of tea in the hand, and it may tilt sideways.

A dark rug on the floor may appear to be a hole.

Their own face in a mirror may appear to be somebody else.

They may be uncertain when moving forward how far down the floor is - hence frequently they shuffle along to maintain contact with the floor.

They may grasp things for support as they cross a room - in the way someone who has had too much alcohol may do.

Sometimes they may lean heavily back, or forward, or to one side or the other.

I always imagine it as being like a person with a blindfold on, having to negotiate a series of tasks in a strange environment. Only the person has also had 5 gin and tonics in rapid succession.

Try it sometime, and you may get to see how scary it can be.
 

mel

Registered User
Apr 30, 2006
1,656
62
Sheffield
Hi Connie and Bruce
Oh how it makes much more sense to me now!
This explains so much to me about mum's lack of confidence when walking,sitting,stepping into the shower! It makes my life so much easier when I can understand how mum feels...
Thank you
Wendy
 

Brucie

Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
12,413
near London
I'm so glad that what we have experienced, and can describe, helps you!
It makes my life so much easier when I can understand how mum feels...
My own feelings are that, until we can get some sort of feel for their situation, by putting it in terms that we can ourselves understand, we can never enter their world, which [it seems to me] is absolutely necessary to cope with a barmy situation.
 

Tender Face

Account Closed
Mar 14, 2006
5,379
NW England
Hi Wendy

I first came across this expression when working with infants - (admit I thought it was something 'Sci-Fi' at first:eek: !!!). I understood it as concept of things being relative ... the toddler who reaches out to grasp an object but hasn't mastered the fact that his arm isn't quite long enough and consequently topples over - later using judgement of speed/distance/size and hand/eye co-ordination to throw/catch a ball.....

I see Brucie has managed to explain things far better than I could!

Brucie said:
Only the person has also had 5 gin and tonics in rapid succession.

Try it sometime, and you may get to see how scary it can be.
DON'T TEMPT ME, Brucie!!!!!;)

Wendy, on top of all the angst and day to day practical stuff, isn't this just a HUGE learning curve? I don't know where I would be now without the info and advice I've had from folks round here.....:)

Love to everyone, Karen (TF)
 

Lila13

Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
1,342
Similar to the spatial awareness question, why could my mother see me through a window when she was outside and I was indoors, but not when I was in the greenhouse? You wouldn't think a glass house would be the best place to hide.
Yet, she'd go up and down the path a few feet away looking for me.

Lila
 

mel

Registered User
Apr 30, 2006
1,656
62
Sheffield
"My own feelings are that, until we can get some sort of feel for their situation, by putting it in terms that we can ourselves understand, we can never enter their world, which [it seems to me] is absolutely necessary to cope with a barmy situation."

I couldn't agree more,Bruce!





"Wendy, on top of all the angst and day to day practical stuff, isn't this just a HUGE learning curve? I don't know where I would be now without the info and advice I've had from folks round here."

Again,I go with that...I think I,ve learned more in the last two months than I ever thought possible...and the more I learn the better care I can give to mum
Thanks all!
Wendy
 

Norman

Registered User
Oct 9, 2003
4,348
Birmingham Hades
Bruce has given the explanation of spatial awareness.
My Peg fits all the descriptions given.
The one Son's house has the hall paved with Welsh slate tiles,some are jet black,Peg steps over these they obviously look like holes.
She is very unsure on her feet now,needs to hang onto something or somebody.
To sit in a chair or sit in the car is a "back a bit ,a bit left,bum on seat now"
I think We are now at the wheelchair stage?
I mentioned it and got a flea in my ear,Peg is despite everything else,still astute and does not miss much that is going on around her.
With the eye focus impaired I am not sure does this fall in the spatial diagnosis?
Norman
 

Margarita

Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
10,824
london
Well that was an eye opener, all what Bruce said is what is happening with my mum, but did not know it had a name to it.

I must say I did wonder why mum lie on the bed the way she does.
 

Tender Face

Account Closed
Mar 14, 2006
5,379
NW England
Eyesight

Norman said:
With the eye focus impaired I am not sure does this fall in the spatial diagnosis?
Norman
Mum has mentioned herself this last week 'her eyesight is getting worse' - not quite sure whether this is purely for me to alert the optician... GP or psycho-geriatrician (YES!!!! Got one coming next week!!!! Only three months wait since first 'let's have a chat' appointment ...... 'scuse me while the party poppers die down......)..

....like everything else - not sure whether mum's eyesight is getting really worse or not.... how would they know....? Whether it's really her eyesight or her inability to 'interpret' the images or this 'spatial' stuff??.....

Thanks anyone, Karen (TF)
 

Brucie

Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
12,413
near London
norman said:
With the eye focus impaired I am not sure does this fall in the spatial diagnosis?
ah yes, that's the other challenge.

Along with seemingly everyone else, opticians and even medical eye specialists have problems with people with dementia.

Jan is basically blind now. Her eyes are fine, it is just the link between them and her brain - the bit that interprets the things the eyes see - has gone.

The optician who visits her care home couldn't figure anything about her ability to see and I had her referred to the hospital. The specialist started out by saying "Janice, can you see this...?" - while showing the wall chart. For a start Jan can't talk, has difficulty with comprehension, was in a strange place where we had to wait for 90 minutes in a corridor of other patients before seeing the man, etc, etc.

In the end he turned to me and asked me what was wrong with her vision. I told him broadly what I said above
Jan is basically blind now. Her eyes are fine, it is just the link between them and her brain - the bit that interprets the things the eyes see - has gone.
, he said OK, then certified her as blind.

We have to know them, care for them, and in some instances, understand enough to be them.
 

DaisyG

Registered User
Feb 20, 2006
183
North West England
My husband has lost a lot of his peripheral vision (left and right) because of his strokes... so HE / WE have this problem to cope with as well as the spatial awareness.


He has been classed as 'Partially Sighted' by the Ophthalmologists, as there is nothing more they can do for him.


If we are sitting next to one another on the sofa, and I make (what he calls) a sudden move, he shouts out .....
All I have done is 'reach out' for a paper or something....
Somehow, me moving has scared him enough to shout out in 'fear'.


He cannot 'see' to put a cup on a coaster .... but is OK otherwise... as long as there is nothing in the way.


He miss judges door frames, steps .... pathways.... and can trip over 'fresh air' if he tries hard enough...


I had not thought that walking on a 'darker surface' woud be more of a 'challenge'.


It could be the reason why he is more cautious when we are visiting family, and they have dark carpet.. and we mostly have wood/laminate... or tiles.


Vision is something we all take for granted isn't it?


Take Care

DaisyG
 

Norman

Registered User
Oct 9, 2003
4,348
Birmingham Hades
Hi Daisy
I did take my wife to the optician,and he was great.
He had knowledge of AD and Aricept tablets.
She was able to read all the lines that he asked her and his diagnosis was she wasn't focusing as normal.
Again it was the part of the brain controlling focus that was at fault.
Peg has problems putting a cup or glass on a coaster,and finding door knobs and handles.
Lining up to a chair or sitting on the car seat is another problem
Another problem to cope with.
Norman

Ps I have posted before on this subject but can't find the post at the moment.
 

Lila13

Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
1,342
Last October-November my mother seemed to be living in a thick yellow fog which affected her hearing and her sight. But a lot of that was apparently due to long-term malnutrition, and it was good to see her gradually improving, from November to April, seeing and hearing birds again, reading and writing a little, doing a bit of gardening, dialling telephone numbers. Her sight was usually better than mine.

All of that disappeared so suddenly.

Lila
 

DaisyG

Registered User
Feb 20, 2006
183
North West England
Hi Norman (and all others),


I tend not to think about the 'spatial awareness' thing in those terms....
as is is SO MUCH a part of my/our EVERYDAY life ....
I just tend to 'do things' on auto pilot.


I too have the 'sitting' problem ... on most chairs... lounge / kitchen / stools etc etc. He wants to sit in the 'middle' of a large couch... instead of on one side or the other...



Sometimes when we are going through a 'bad phase' ...... he 'forgets' how to sit down at the table... and needs more encouragement than 'normal'.
He somehow?? forgets that he has to bend his knees to sit.
(Does this make sense to others?).


He cannot 'line himself up' to sit down at the breakfast bar.... and tends to sit on the 'corner' .... sometimes almost in my lap !!


He finds it difficult travelling in any vehicle, and becomes REALLY disorientated...
He cannot support and hold himself 'steady'....


Glad we can share our thought on this TP.


Take care

DaisyG
 

DickG

Registered User
Feb 26, 2006
558
84
Stow-on-the-Wold
Hi Lila

I was interested in your comments on malnutrition. Does anyone have any information on what is a good diet for AD sufferers? Does it make any difference?

Dick
 

Brucie

Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
12,413
near London
Does anyone have any information on what is a good diet for AD sufferers
I'd say, from experience with Jan, ..... basically, whatever they will eat at any given time. Jan lost lots of weight - and I was feeding us both at the time.

She simply ate less and less over time and that is probably what malnutrition means in this case - not so much eating the 'wrong' things.... more, just not eating enough of anything.

In care homes they give food supplements to cope with this.
 

Lila13

Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
1,342
The main difficulty was getting her to eat and drink enough of anything.

Lila


DickG said:
Hi Lila

I was interested in your comments on malnutrition. Does anyone have any information on what is a good diet for AD sufferers? Does it make any difference?

Dick
 

Amy

Registered User
Jan 4, 2006
3,453
Hiya Dick,
As I understand it Dick, the digestive system is unable to gleen the nutrients to maintain body weight, so no matter what is eaten weight loss still occurs. The NH mum is in took part in some studies and they found that using supplements helped maintain weight or at least decrease the rate of weght loss.
Love Helen