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In the absence of recent factual memories, people with dementia are likely to search for much older factual memories, possibly from youth, to help make sense of their current situation.

The full guide offers tips on how to effectively communicate with the person, including the importance of creating a calm and relaxed environment, and joining the reality the person is living in rather than contradicting them.

Adopt a Person-First

Approach The guide suggests adapting a ‘person-first approach’ in the household. Pam Schweitzer (1998) proposes that looking through family photos, listening to familiar music and visiting memorable places can help sustain a better relationship between family and person, as well as carer. This helps the person feel at ease by reminiscing about happy memories.

Three Golden Rules by

Contended Dementia Included in the guide is a breakdown of The SPECAL® method; a person- centred approach geared at improving wellbeing and quality of life as well as strengthening relationships between people with dementia and their loved ones through positive communication techniques.

The rules are:

1. Avoid asking direct questions It is important to avoid asking direct question that require factual information, this increases awareness of their disability which in return causes more stress and grief.

2. Listen to the expert It’s important to listen to what the person affected is saying, to base our questions and answers from their perspective; any information they receive should generate good feelings for them.

3. Do not contradict It’s important not to argue with them, we must not sidetrack them from pre-dementia memories, as they are used to make sense of the

current moment. We must support and validate what they are saying as being correct.

Assistive Technology

Aids Autonomy The guide urges individuals to use assistive technology which aids the greater autonomy of those with dementia. They advise:

• Taking tracking devices on walks, which allow patients to have a greater sense of independence.

• Telecare sensors to monitor the person and can notify a nominated person or call centre if they have fallen or have left home during the night.

“It’s important to listen to what te person affected is saying, to

base our questions and answers fom teir perspective.”

• Introducing adapted versions of household appliances such as doorbells and telephones with larger buttons and bolder colours.

It is important to note assistive technology is more effective when introduced in the early stages of dementia; gradual introduction of these technologies can prevent confusion. The guide also states assistive technology is best when combined with a ‘person-centred’ care service.

Get the Creative

Juices Flowing People’s aesthetic and imaginative responses remain strong making music and art a positive and energising experience for those with dementia.

Arts 4 Dementia have successfully organised events with arts venues, encouraging people with dementia to take part in art, music, dance and drama events around the country.

The guide states that attendees remained energised, happy and stress-free for some time afterwards, with 94% still benefiting overnight and 60% benefiting for a week or more.

Veronica Franklin Gould, CEO of Arts 4 Dementia, commented: “The creative part of the brain can remain undamaged for years.”

Staying Active and

Keeping Healthy The guide notes the importance of physical activity for people with dementia, offering suggestions on types of activities which promote happiness and wellbeing. The guide explains that walking the dog or gardening helps to maintain a connection to normal life, retain skills and improve sleep, appetite, circulation and digestion.

The advisory paper also states that people with dementia can have a preference for sweeter foods, finger foods and regular snacks as smaller portions are often more appealing.

Bringing Carers

into the Home The guide recommends that care should be provided in a familiar environment such as the home where a person can receive an unrivalled level of support through one-to-one live in care, whilst also continuing to enjoy their independence.

The guide informs us of the type of care one would receive, stating that carers using a ‘person-centred’ approach will deliver holistic care, taking into account personal and emotional needs, in addition to practical and medical tasks they may need help with.

What distinguishes The Guide ‘Dementia: through their eyes’ is that it offers different ways of thinking and understanding the person with dementia, and provides information and practical tips to help support the person with dementia live better, happier and more productive lives. The guide encourages good practice and explores dementia from the perspective of the individual. - 31 -

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