Published on: May 7, 2014
by Mirror UK:
Dementia can be an alienating illness and often people with the condition will start to lose their way – here are five ways to help them…
Even if you’re lucky enough not to develop dementia during your lifetime, it’s almost certain that you will know somebody who does.
Here are five ways to help a person with dementia…
1. Connect with the person behind the dementia
Often just finding out about a person’s history can help you understand them better – and give you things to talk about.
One true story that proves this theory is about an old lady with dementia in a care home. She was always tapping on the table and irritating people, until one day someone discovered she’d actually worked at Bletchley Park during the war and helped crack the famous Enigma code. All her tapping was actually Morse code!
2. Make surroundings dementia-friendly
Dementia can affect perception and vision, so shiny floors look wet and slippery, or swirly carpets look like snakes. Being aware of this and looking out for potential problems can help, for example, labelling how things work – such as kettles or TVs.
3. Be patient with them
A person with dementia can get easily confused and this can be very frightening. Avoid showing signs of anger or frustration – give them plenty of time to speak and keep calm – this will ensure they don’t feel unduly anxious or stressed.
4 Avoid correcting them
It’s natural to want to ‘help along’ if someone keeps forgetting important facts or events, for instance finishing a sentence for them – but experience proves this can leave both parties frustrated, try embracing what they can remember instead.
5. Be sure to reminisce
Short-term memory loss is often a first sign of dementia, but that doesn’t mean long-term memories are forgotten. So sharing old stories from the past can still bring a smile to someone’s face and help them feel like themselves.
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