“Look at this.” She said in a ruffled voice shook with disbelieve. Her eyes, poised in a confusion of serenity and uncertainty, directed my gaze unto her hands held up before me. It was one of those moments when time itself, frightened and frozen, stood still for me, allowing me to see that which would normally go unseen.

I watched as she studied her weathered hands. Dismayed, she explored each finger, each crevice, each discoloration as if laying eyes on her hands for the very first time. She seemed trapped in the confusion. These are not her hands, how could they be. These are not what she remembers. She navigated our attention over the topography of an unrecognized remnant given her by the forgotten journey of time. In broken communication, she would point out various features as if pointing out moments of her memory, made accessible through this unsettling journey. In her eyes she expected to see youth, yet here she stood, facing the collapse of a dream. She dropped her hands. And as quick as the moment had come, so too it had gone.

I wanted to rescue her. I wanted to rescue myself. Her suffering. My toil. My suffering. Her toil. I wanted to find her memory in those hands, freeing her from delusion, facing the terror and awe of truth. I was left with a prayer:

May the breathing breath move unhindered.
As life gives life through the doorway of death,
traverse the journey of aging hands.
May life breathe life,
and return back again.

People with dementia may experience problems with their sight which cause them to misinterpret the world around them. In some cases, people with dementia can experience hallucinations. This document considers some specific difficulties that people with dementia can have, and suggests ways to support them. Understanding potential problems and giving appropriate help, support and reassurance can greatly assist people living with dementia to feel safe, at a time when the way they perceive reality may be changing. To open the document, please click below:

Sight, Perception & Hallucinations In Dementia – PDF(597KB)