Enriching Social Care for People Living with Dementia
Tips for Carers
by Gillian Hesketh – Happy Days Dementia Workshop
Imagine forgetting something important. Imagine not knowing quite where you are. Imagine not knowing who you are with. Imagine this is happening to you everyday of the week. What happens day to day can affect our sense of self. Living with dementia not only affects memory, it can effect many changes in a person including altered mood, lack of interest or patience, increased agitation, depression or even aggression in some people.
With the recent dementia awareness campaigns, many of us are now aware of the facts: estimations of one million British people will be living with dementia by 2021. It’s important now for health care and community services; care homes, home care and hospitals to ensure their carers have an understanding of the journey of dementia. Carers need to be able to enrich social care through more meaningful interaction for improved well-being.
Knowing about a person’s past can be a key to understanding their signs of needs. Happy Days have designed a memory jogger to help carers find out about a person’s history, interests and favourites to generate meaningful conversations for shared enjoyment.
Here are some Happy Days favourite tips to help carers enrich social care:
Keep surrounding noises down. Remove rugs and clear pathways around the house. Take down black or dark pictures [dark colours or shadows can sometimes cause anxiety].
Be calm and exhibit patience, warmth and support when speaking to the person you are caring for. Don’t tower over the person you are speaking to. Listen carefully to the words the person is saying, even if they appear muddled or unclear.
Recognising and using body language for improved communication:
Keep good eye contact to reassure the person.
Observe the person’s body language to work out signs of needs, wants or wishes.
Repeat actions may signify a personal need.
Focus on the person’s positive features or personality and support how the person wishes to present their personal looks and style. Make choices simple for example, show items of clothing rather than list items to choose from.
Getting to know the person’s interests, hobbies or life’s work can help a carer suggest suitable and enjoyable activities. Sharing stories or just talking is an activity.
Going outdoors for fresh air and daylight – feeding birds or watering plants can be beneficial to well-being for both parties.
People may not always remember what you say, but they will always remember how you made them feel.
For more information, contact Gillian Hesketh: firstname.lastname@example.org
Social Prompts – Memory Baskets – Nostalgic Displays – Conversation Prompts and more
One-stop-shop at www.dementiaworkshop.co.uk
Happy Days Dementia Workshop – Tel: 01253-899163 / Mob: 07971-953620