People with dementia can find themselves disorientated and become confused or distressed. Visual changes influence the person to embrace unusual behaviours. Adults with dementia may not be able to calculate the distance of an object that is actually on the floor. They may also have difficulty feeding themselves because they cannot recognise the food on the plate or find their drinking glass.

Charles bonnet syndrome is one condition that may arise with losing vision as we age. It’s characterised by having visual hallucinations that may include scenery such as rivers or mountains, characters or animals or characters draped in costume from an earlier time. Hallucinations are most commonly reported when people wake up and can persist for a few minutes or hours. They may be of various forms, move or be still, and appear in black and white or colour.

Dementia clients need gentle reminders to eat and drink. Lack of nutrition and hydration can cause problems such as urine infections and malnutrition. When giving them meal choices, we limit the options to two as decision making is reduced with dementia. If clients are refusing food, drink or medications, we change the subject, go and do something else and come back to it later. They may have forgotten the previous conversation and be more accommodating and open to suggestions.

We document clearly how clients are, their mood, how much they have eaten and drank, bladder and bowel functions and generally how the visit went.