People with dementia are often said to be confused or to have memory loss, but their memories are often the most powerful thing in their world. Understanding these can be the trigger to enabling us to provide the most reassuring care for them.
Dementia has been described as having a photo album in which some of the images get erased; others remain, but the facts behind these images also fade, leaving only the emotions associated with them. As more images and more facts get erased, the remaining images – and the emotions attached to them – become increasingly significant. In time, they can become the reassuring ‘safe’ place where the person feels most confident.
Understanding what the remaining memories might be, can be essential in providing the right support for a person with dementia. Without that insight, their actions can be completely misconstrued, and the responses of those around them can do more harm than good.
Take the case of a gentleman who was in a Sussex care home; every day at 2pm he would start to take his clothes off. At first the staff thought he was behaving inappropriately and tried to get him to dress again; the man’s behaviour became increasingly aggressive. Then the staff found out that he used to live on the coast and would swim in the sea every afternoon. Once they understood that, his actions made sense, and they were able to respond in a way that was helpful to him; they began to take him swimming, and his behaviour improved.
Understanding the whole person and their past can help us provide the most effective support for our clients with dementia. That’s why we work closely with families to unlock our clients’ inner library of memories, so we can provide them with a reassuring present.
To find out more about our tailored care packages to support enjoy independent living
for people in the Sevenoaks, Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge areas
call 01892 529429 or request a callback.