Due to dementia-related changes in the brain, some loved ones may perceive dark areas on the floor as either a hole or a step. Caregivers have told me about a loved one jumping or attempting to “step” over a a dark floor mat by the door or kitchen sink. Not everyone will experience this, but you need to be aware of the possibility. If you notice the person tentatively walking in these areas, there is a good chance they are having perceptual problems.
“John would stand at the back door and not move. I didn’t know what was going on. Then one day as I was out the door, I told him we needed to get going. He looked at me and said he was afraid of falling into the hole and didn’t think he couldn’t jump over it! Nothing I said made a difference. He really thought the floor had a dark black hole. I replaced the mat with a lighter color that blended in with the floor and the “hole” disappeared.”
Sometimes simple changes can make a big difference.