September has been World Alzheimer’s month and I am sadly late helping to increase awareness on this occasion. However, as I work within this sector both with clients with dementia and supporting their carers I know I am making a difference every day. Whenever possible, I try to help with my writing projects and blog to encourage people not to abandon those friends and loved ones with dementia but to continue to visit, include and support both the person meeting the daily challenge and their amazing carers.
How we communicate with somebody with dementia is crucial, learning simple techniques, listening carefully, being patient when they struggle with words, avoid interrupting or finishing what they are trying to say. Keep eye contact and try to be sitting at their level. Always aim to include them in conversations. Try to remember a cheery disposition and positive body language will always help create a relaxed atmosphere.
As with anybody people suffering with dementia like to do things they enjoy –this may sound obvious but it’s true. Additionally, keeping their mind stimulated whether this is reading to them or anything of a creative nature can help them to feel involved and connected. I have helped clients to write some of their memories for their children – an activity I have run in the past in writers’ group. Dementia sufferers find it easier to discuss and recall the past and shared memories can be enjoyed by their children and grandchildren.
My message is to find ways to help support the family and maintain the connection with your friend or family member as they still exist and need your love, time and understanding.