RSS Feed Print
Why aren't you wearing a coat?
Posted: Sunday, March 8, 2015 3:50 PM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 3587

My mother was the one who I took care of with dementia for nine years until her death, but my question now is for a friend who is sadly watching her friend show signs of dementia. She asked me about this, but I couldn't relate on this topic.

My friend, N, had her black coat on the back of her chair. Her friend, A. said, "you didn't wear a coat?" N. said, "yes, it is here on the back of my chair." Then later as they were leaving the building, N. put on her black coat. Yet, A. said, "you don't have your coat?" N. told her she was wearing the coat.

Has anyone else had the experience of the Alzheimer's/dementia patient not recognizing a coat for a coat or not seeing the coat? I'd like to help my friend M.understand this.

Thanks everyone. Just want you all to know, I feel fortunate to be able to come here even though my mother has passed. You are a caring group of people


Posted: Sunday, March 8, 2015 4:55 PM
Joined: 9/26/2012
Posts: 563

It may be A's way of making conversation. My mom likes ro talk about the weather, and she seems pretty normal except now she has no clue about the actual weather or season of the year. So she will make her social comments about what a lovely summer day we're having in December, or, "Is everyone done with their Christmas shopping?" in March.
Stephanie Z
Posted: Sunday, March 8, 2015 5:46 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 4218

Here's part of an article from The UK Alzheimer's Society that explains it:

Visuoperceptual difficulties in people with dementia

The specific difficulties a person experiences will depend on the type of dementia they have. This is because each type of dementia can damage the visual system in a different way.

Difficulties may include:

  • decreased sensitivity to differences in contrast (including colour contrast such as black and white, and contrast between objects and background)
  • reduced ability to detect movement
  • changes to the visual field (how much you can see around the edge of your vision, while looking straight ahead)
  • reduced ability to detect different colors (for example, a person may have problems telling the difference between blue and purple)
  • changes to the reaction of the pupil to light
  • problems directing or changing gaze
  • problems with the recognition of objects, faces and colors
  • loss of ability to name what has been seen
  • double vision
  • problems with depth perception.

Stephanie Z

Posted: Sunday, March 8, 2015 11:58 PM
Joined: 12/26/2013
Posts: 524

Definitely, I have witnessed this phenom.. he could be looking right at something and not recognize it. I could be pointing to it, calling it by name.. he could be looking at it at the same time... doesn't know.

Posted: Monday, March 9, 2015 11:41 AM
Joined: 2/20/2015
Posts: 63

Stephanie: With your knowledge, you are a G_d's send. My husband is having problems with that as well. When I come home, I put my coat, hat (if I wore one), backpack and pocketbook on the couch. He thinks my coat is some type of animal. I don't know what he sees in my backpack but he feels that he has to go up to it and hit it (glad I don't have anything breakable in it). He does this with other objects as well, so I watch and move them so he won't feel that he has to do something with them.
Stephanie Z
Posted: Monday, March 9, 2015 4:39 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 4218

Hi Vicki,
You are doing exactly the right thing. Anything that triggers a negative response should be removed from the environment if possible or covered. Please watch his reaction to himself in the mirror. At some point this may become a problem.
Stephanie Z