One of my dear friends was a prisoner of war many years ago. He has recently been diagnosed with a dementia and has virtually lost his vision. He turned up at my house very early one morning quite distressed as he believed there were Japanese soldiers coming to get him and he had to protect us. He could see them, smell them, hear them and felt the terror of their presence. He knew what they were capable of as he had seen his friends beheaded by them in the past. He stayed on guard at the door requesting absolute silence as the soldiers were moving around outside the front gate.
My heart ached for him and for what he had experienced as such a young man - the beatings, threats and starvation. It also hurt for him as an older man re-living these experiences. It made me wonder if help had been available when he returned from war all those years ago - would it be different for him now? I was unsure if it was the PTSD or perhaps something like Lewy Body dementia causing his reality to be slightly askew. It could even be something as simple as an untreated infection as this can cause hallucinations in an older person. Whatever it was causing it, the common link was the changes that had taken place for him in how he sensed the world around him to create a reality.
He responded well to some grounding techniques and challenging his current reality. For me - I need to research this in far more depth to see what studies have been done on links between PTSD, dementia and sensory perception. Watch this space.