Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Dementia awareness (part 2}

* Hurrying and dementia don't go together well  -  aural and visual impairment may complicate things

When talking to a person living with dementia, it's a good idea to talk slowly and as clearly as possible.  Depending on the progress of the disease, people may first of all have difficulty hearing what you say and may then take longer than you might expect to process what they have heard.

Similarly, every day tasks will often be carried out very, very slowly.  It is very easy, to become impatient.  And totally counter-productive.

As well as hearing problems, people living with dementia may also experience visual impairment and/or they may, like my wife, have their eyes closed a lot of the time.  I often have to suggest that S opens her eyes when climbing the stairs or getting into a car, for example.  It helps!  As do the same little prompts each time.

* It's not inevitable that people living with dementia will end up in a care home but it's not always possible for them to be cared for at home

Carers often appear divided about this.  Some are determined to see the role through to the end, others assume that there will come a point when they will not be able to cope.

In reality, while most people living with dementia end their days in a care home or in hospital, others do stay at home.

It is foolish for anyone to express certainty about their ability to cope right through to the end as no-one can predict how the condition will progress in any individual. Sometimes carers find their own health breaks down, perhaps as a direct result of the stress the role brings, and the decision is taken out of their hands.

* Most carers continue to care for a person even after they have moved to a care home

Many carers visit very regularly and try to make sure that everything possible is being done to make the person they care for contented.

Relatives often worry that the person living with dementia will forget who they are.  This is not inevitable, and the more often you visit the less likely it is.

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