Simple ways to help a person with dementia

IMG_3354After being alerted to this poster The Caregiver’s 10 Commandments via the University of Tasmania’s Understanding Dementia MOOC Facebook page, which is helpful, but also hard to do, I found the article 5 Simple ways to help a person with dementia in my draft blog folder, which I have added below.

Over a year ago, I developed a list of 20 things not to say or do to a person with dementia, and have had a significant amount of feedback telling me how useful it is, and that it is being used in universities, in aged and dementia care providers, as well as in some hospitals.

The list of 5 simple things in the India Times is also simple and helpful.

5 Simple ways to help a person with dementia

“By the year 2015, India is expected to overtake the US to become the country with the largest number of people with dementia, according to the Dementia India Report 2010 pre pared by the Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Society of India (ARDSI). In other words, 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.

Connect with the person
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 woman with dementia in a care home. She was always tapping on the table and irritating people, until one day someone discovered she worked at Bletchley Park during the war and helped crack the famous Enigma code. All her tapping was actually Morse code.

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.

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.

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.

Be sure to reminisce – if that helps them
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 make them feel like themselves.”

– The Daily Mirror

My quote for the day: Life is short, so live it well.

11 thoughts on “Simple ways to help a person with dementia

  1. Wow!Super helpful Kate!I will show my Auntie who takes advantage of him-hopefully she learns not to be so disrespectful and talk to him!

  2. Pingback: Dementia: Dealing With Denial | memory issues

  3. Pingback: Simple ways to help a person with dementia | memoryissues

    • Hi Susan… you are about the 20th lovely person who has contacted me here or by email! I’m ok, but struggling with jet lag, and not yet functional enough to blog much. I hope to rectify that today, as have also missed two blogs for Dementia Alliance International – http://www.infodai.org … Hugs Kx

      • Well, I would have been about the 7th or 10th because I noticed your absence last week despite my own road trip, but I was practicing patience and faith 🙂 It speaks volumes to your influence and the respect you have amongst a worldwide community that people notice when your voice is not heard. Good for you Kate. You are a force for good, an amazing women and an inspiration to many around the globe. Something to hold on to when the going gets tough. Love and hugs right back at ya from Canada XOX Susan

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