19th October 2016
To look after people with dementia successfully, it helps to understand what the condition is like to live with. That’s why we ask our home carers to spoon feed one another – and we throw in a blindfold for good measure.
Providing effective home care for the elderly and people with dementia means understanding their world. Some of our clients need help to eat. We could just tell our home carers to get on with it, but we know from our wide experience caring for a range of clients, that being spoon fed is not always a comfortable experience.
If you don’t believe us, do the experiment that we ask our excellent carers to go through: put on a blindfold and then ask someone to spoon fed you, with no talking on your part. The loss of control – of not knowing when the spoon is going to be thrust in your mouth, especially if you are not able to communicate well or have limited eyesight – is, at best, disconcerting.
Getting our home carers to take it turns to spoon feed and to be spoon fed, gives them the insight into what it’s like to be on the receiving end, as well as the empathy to perform this seemingly simple task gently and kindly. “You learn when to present the spoon and not to put it in too quickly, but to let them feel it coming,” explains one.
Learning the art of empathetic spoon feeding is one of the very small differences that we encourage our excellent home carers to master – because we understand that the little things make the big differences to the elderly people that we look after.