Walk The Line.


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Joan strolled confidently down the hallway. Even with Alzheimer’s, she is very capable. Joan can hold long conversations, eat, drink, and bathe without much assistance, and she can walk quickly with the help of a cane.

This is why I was surprised when I saw what she did next.

Joan walked by me and suddenly looked down at the carpet.

Our new carpet has a thick, colored line on it. Without missing a beat, Joan lifted her cane, placed it on the other side of the line, and stepped gingerly over it.

People with dementia do not see the world the way that we do—in a very literal sense. Their depth perception, sight, and understanding of the world around them is damaged.

Joan didn’t realize that the carpet was one solid piece. She believed that the line in the carpet was a gap, so she avoided it. 

When you are dementia-proofing your house, get rid of black carpets (they look like holes in the floor), unstable rugs (slip hazards), and patterned chairs, tablecloths, or other furniture (these are confusing). 

Joan continued on down the hallway, moving with speed and confidence.

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Rachael Wonderlin is an internationally-recognized dementia care expert and consultant. She has a Master’s in Gerontology and is the author of two published books with Johns Hopkins University Press. Rachael owns Dementia By Day, a dementia care consulting and education company.

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