Dementia Support Session - Key learning to be shared with staff

Published: 15/11/2016

Context Andrea Moore attended a one day seminar 15/11/16 that looked at how we can support people living with dementia more effectively... 

Key Learning
Looking beyond the disease and assisting them to live well with dementia

If we have a good understanding of our customers that are living with dementia we will be able to question sometimes why their behaviours change.
e.g why is he not eating his porridge – he has always liked this
By looking at this as a question we can start to gain better understanding of what is going on
e.g in pain, reduced appetite due to medication, unable to recognize food, trouble chewing or swallowing
Do we know our customers as people – helps us care better for them

2. Communication
As dementia progresses it becomes more difficult to store and process factual information
‘therefore a lot of the times they remember more the way you talk to them as opposed to what you say’

Key is to:
Avoid direct questions that requires them to try to access factual information – this could increase their distress. 
Listen to the questions the customer with dementia is asking, consider what the best answer might be from their perspective rather than your own.
Key is to avoid leaving them frustrated and anxious.  Even if you cannot understand what they are saying you can still empathize and demonstrate that you are listening carefully.
Try not to argue with customer.

3. Using music and art as positive experiences
As dementia progresses customers often become more sensory – hand massage, listening to music, twiddle muffs/quilts
Choose activities that are likely to be successfully achieved.

‘ one of the key points that I took away and feel is important is to ensure that we involve key family members for their input and to then take responsibility for sharing this information with everyone that is involved in the care and support’