I discovered many methods that can help someone suffering from Dementia. These have been analyzed by researchers, physicians and elderly care professionals and can be immensely helpful.
Music can help soothe and reduce problems associated with behavioural issues. It’s very important to use music which is their favorite and may often be the very best form of treatment. It was a significant part of my ‘technique arsenal’.
“Graded assistance” is used to help someone finish the daily tasks with as little help as possible. This is sometimes difficult. Often I found the desire to ‘help’ more than I should have.
Other therapies that focus on cognitive abilities and/or social activities may also be very powerful.
It’s extremely important to communicate appropriately when helping your loved one or client if working within Aged Care.
- Avoid talking to the individual like a baby or talking about the individual like they were not there.
- Use short sentences and simple words with a serene and gentle tone of voice.
- Grab their attention by using their name.
- Minimize all outside distractions like television etc..
- Be patient and allow them sufficient time to reply.
- If they struggle to communicate, gently try to offer the word they could be searching for.
- Most significantly treat them with respect and frame your own questions in positive ways.
Someone suffering from Dementia still wants and needs a fantastic quality of life, just because you do but without the aid of carers and friends their capacity to be given a fantastic quality of life becomes more difficult.
Activities I found useful:
- Provide opportunities for pleasure and social contact.
- Help promote self esteem.
- Compensate for lost actions.
- Be respectful and understanding of cultural heritage.
- Not involve learning.
What makes them unique?
Get acquainted with the persons life and background (simple if you’re family). Learn their hobbies, work history, societal interests and life events by calling caring relatives.
Re-establish older roles
Utilise unforgotten abilities like buttering bread or raking. Make them feel useful and help them feel like they are contributing. I found that giving them a bag of lightly tangled wool to untangle worked nicely.
Simple and meaningful
Communicate easy steps one instruction at a time allowing them all the time and space necessary. Remember not to talk to them like a baby.
Safe working place
I discovered that having a particular area for actions that has been uncluttered and free of distractions was critical. Good lighting and proper seating are significant and be mindful to use non-breakable containers . Oops, I did not like that vase anyhow.
Many sufferers of Dementia can find crowds and sound overwhelming so these activities might have to be avoided. Each man is different and you’ll know best whether activities in this way should be included or not.
Sometimes the time of day is an important element when considering activities. For instance I found going for a walk in the morning was greatest whilst others might enjoy an afternoon walk. This stage may take some time to learn as one day might be different than another.
- Brushing hair.
- Massage of hand, feet or neck.
- Fragrant essential oils, flowers or pot-pouri.
- Touching and stroking distinct textures.
- Visit or build a sensory garden or garden box.
I found these things important but if you have access to a garden with lovely scented flowers or blossoms is extremely productive. Often they were happy just sit in the backyard on a gorgeous day.
Movement and Exercise
Investing your time in exercise tasks for someone with Dementia is vital. There are several activities designed specifically for individuals with Dementia and the shift can do them great and you.
A individual who has Dementia may not recall the activity but it’s essential for them to appreciate it. If a certain activity wasn’t successful it can be accommodated and re-introduced and attempted another day. Don’t let them feel like they neglected and DON’T stop trying. They’re individuals and finding the proper activity might take some time… be patient.
A huge part of my families learning to adapt to someone with Dementia revolved around reminiscing. We spent many hours designing, producing and creating activities or products which were extremely successful in providing a fantastic quality of life. And really is not that what we all want, so why should it be any different for them.
The expression,”I recall a time when I was young”, was a frequent remark from Dementia sufferers who were introduced into Reminiscence Therapy.
Reminiscence refers to memories gathered from the past which are similar or familiar for everybody and can be utilized for their advantage.
Introducing Reminiscence can very good for the individual as a whole and will help with social skills.
The art of Reminiscence requires the young and old, friends, relatives and professionals in aged care or people at home by sharing experiences and memories.
Reminiscence activities may be used inside the home environment or within elderly care facilities either independently or in groups.
- Visual: Use photos or graphics to ignite a distant memory.
- Taste or Smell: The use of kits designed with unique odours or foods.
- Music: Instrument use or recognizable songs from a favorite CD.
- Tactile: The use of substances or objects with various textures.
With the usage of some of the aforementioned activities some Dementia sufferers who can not communicate verbally may discover different ways to communicate instead.
Often Mum would say that when she introduced an action to someone with Dementia who otherwise would not participate in actions, a smile would creep across their face after they recognized one of the above mediums. Often it would be the first indication of’life’ from among her’oldies’ for months.
The challenge of being told that,’he or she has not said a thing for months’ was the challenge she had to bring them out of the shell using the developed action.
She learnt from years working in Aged Care that particular activities worked better than others and the co-operation from family and friends was extremely significant. Being able to get information or photographs of their unique conditions for using reminiscing can go a long way to creating a better quality of life.