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Published on: June 20, 2014
by The Guardian:
Looking after people with dementia takes patience and compassion.
1. Take time and just be
Be in the moment, make gentle eye contact and allow for silence, stillness and breathing together. Spend time with no pressure, no agenda, no tasks (such as dressing, clothing or feeding), no judgment and no expectations. Allow the person to be who they are now.
2. Don’t ask questions
Questions can be distressing at the best of times and can put pressure on people. But repetition can be good. As a way of creating a connection, repeat the name of your relative or friend gently to a well-known melody or song that they love. They can feel and may realise that you mean them.
3. Focus on physical activity and memory
Remember physical activities you used to do together, such as baking, gardening, storytelling or DIY. If the person is physically still able, try to do them together. Even though they may not remember these activities later, they may well remember the physical experience and the positive feelings they had when they were doing them.
4. Be kind, caring and compassionate
Physical contact is important. Although people with dementia may seem distant or confused at times, they have emotions and feelings. Hold their hand, give them a hug. Show them compassion and care.
5. Look at the person, not the illness
Remember to laugh, sing and dance together. Get out of the daily routine. Explore fresh things and create shared moments together.
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