20 Conversation Pointers About People Living With Dementia:
Caring for someone living with dementia is a kind and generous act.
No two people will experience dementia in the same way ~ everyone’s dementia is different
We may sometimes feel that people showing signs of dementia are ‘having us on.’ This is probably not the case. What do you think?
There is no set timescale ~ behaviour patterns are specific to each person.
People with dementia may be living in a different time, place or person ~ Join them in their place for conversations.
We can help people to live well with dementia by ensuring they eat a nutritious diet and continue to engage in everyday skills and activity where possible.
Keeping active helps to boost blood flow.
Assisting people living with dementia to maintain everyday skills will help keep a person remain engaged, relieve boredom and provide a sense of self-worth.
Prompting the long term memory can provide topics for meaningful conversations and can bring about happy memories and stories to share and enjoy.
We can’t care for someone until we know who they are – If possible, find out about the person’s social history – likes and dislikes.
Use photographs to prompt memories – faces alone may not be recognisable – So choose photographs which show events, hobbies or something happening – walking with a pram – at work – a city – countryside – zoo – holiday – or specific recognisable location ie: Blackpool Tower – Buckingham Palace.
People living with dementia still have feelings – but can’t always show them.
Observing body language and repeated behaviour may help us to recognise signs of needs or wants.
Use plenty of eye contact and smile – this can calm a person.
Don’t rush – a person living with dementia can often sense being rushed which may cause unsettled feelings.
Try not to tower over the person.
Don’t ask time based or directional questions – they may seem empty to a person living with dementia: ‘What are you going to do today?’ – Suggestion: ‘Today, we could cut some flowers in the garden and arrange them in this lovely green vase.’ [Show the vase]
Think about other ways instead of questions: What would you like for lunch? – Suggestion: ‘I’ve made a lovely shepherds pie with buttery carrots for lunch.’
Use food or cookery magazines to encourage eating.
Let the person help with tasks if possible.
Make positive statements: ‘Your hair looks lovely today.’ / ‘I like your blue sweater.’
Try to be accepting – Avoid contradiction or argument.
People with dementia may not know you but they will know how you make them feel.
Remember to take care of you!
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