Guide to better understand people with dementia – The Good Care Group

The Good Care Group offer high quality live in care services, for elderly people to live in their home for as long as possible. Their eye-opening and educational dementia guide offers a ‘person-centred’ analysis of the lives of those affected by dementia, offering guidance on how you can help and support individuals with dementia live well.

The Good Care Group provides the reader with a compelling and informative resource, suitable for all those whose lives have been affected by dementia.

Understanding dementia

Dementia is a “collection of syndromes resulting from damage to the brain”, Alzheimer’s being the most common type of dementia.

Memory, thinking speed, mental agility, understanding and judgement are all functions that can be affected by dementia. The Good Care Group highlight that although these symptoms are common amongst most individuals with dementia, the rate of progression varies from person to person and is dependent on the type of dementia, as well as the overall health and lifestyle of the individual. The Good Care Group encourages anyone who is concerned about dementia to seek help by talking to their GP.

Care Guide

Feelings more important than facts

It becomes difficult for people with dementia to store new factual information. However, the feelings that a person experiences do continue to be stored as normal. Therefore a person with dementia will always know how they are feeling, but they may not know why. The guide quotes Christine Bryden, diagnosed at age 46 with Alzheimer’s Disease; “As we become more emotional and less cognitive, it’s the way you talk to us, not what you say, that we remember”.

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

Adopt a ‘Person-First’ approach

The useful guide states we must adapt to a ‘person-first approach’ in the household. Pam Schweitzer proposes that looking through family photos, listening to familiar music and visiting memorable places; may help sustain a better relationship between family and patient, as well as carer. This helps the patient feel at ease by reminiscing over happier memories.

‘Three Golden Rules developed by Contended Dementia – simple, yet highly effective person-first approach, developed

A part of The SPECAL® method, this person centred approach can greatly improve wellbeing and quality of life.

  1. To 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.

  1. 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.

  1. Do not contradict

It’s important to not 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 and examples

The Good Care Group promotes the use of assistive technology as an aid for greater autonomy.

Helpful technology includes:

  • 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
  • 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.

Download the full guide at: http://www.thegoodcaregroup.com/live-in-care/dementia/dementia-care-guide/

New help for employers looking to diversify their workforce

See Potential is backed by over 100 progressive employers like KPMG, Eversheds and Tesco and endorsed by the CBI, FSB and IOD. Their CEOs are encouraging other Employers to review their recruitment practices and sample the business benefits of more open-minded recruitment.

What is See Potential?

See Potential is an employment campaign, backed by business people like Sir Richard Branson, Deborah Meaden and Simon Cowell, showcasing the talents and business benefits of hiring people from disadvantaged groups. These can include the long-term unemployed, ex-offenders, care leavers, recovering addicts, homeless people and single parents. The campaign seeks to challenge negative perceptions and attitudes towards candidates from these groups and encourage employers to recruit more of them. See Potential celebrates the work of employers who provide jobs and training opportunities to people from disadvantaged groups, showing other businesses why it’s worth their while reviewing their recruitment practices. We use real-life testimony from individuals and employers to illustrate the personal, societal and business benefits of giving people a chance in the world of work.

See Potential

Who supports the campaign?

Sir Richard Branson, Deborah Meaden and Simon Cowell are See Potential ambassadors and the campaign now has the backing of more than 100 employer organisations. They include well-known brands, like Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Costa Coffee, National Grid, BAE Systems, Eversheds, Admiral, Fujitsu, Marriott, Carillion, Hyundai, Virgin and EY, as well as growing numbers of SMEs. They all have open recruitment policies and are leading the way with their more inclusive approach to finding fresh talent. See Potential is endorsed by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), Institute of Directors (IOD), The Prince’s Trust, The Big Issue, Business in the Community (BITC), Nacro and many others. They all believe businesses should double their efforts to tap into the valuable skills, energy and insight that candidates from disadvantaged groups can bring to businesses.

What are the benefits?

Evidence suggests that people from disadvantaged groups can become some of your best employees. They go the extra mile to secure results, tend to stay in a job for longer, have a strong commitment to their employer and lower rates of absenteeism. BITC research shows clear business benefits in becoming more inclusive, with over 90 per cent of businesses saying it’s been advantageous and 92 per cent saying it’s enhanced their reputation. Two thirds report that it has boosted skills levels across their workforce and around half say it’s even benefited them financially. See Potential is also about taking pride in being socially responsible. Six million of us will be homeless at some point in our lives. Ninety-seven per cent of homeless people want to work*, but a recent survey** indicates that only 7% of employers say they recruit homeless people. Giving people from disadvantaged groups a chance can help get their lives back on track. It is not only good for individuals but also for society. For instance, employment is proven to reduce re-offending by 33-50% .

More information about See Potential

So, becoming more representative of the communities you serve doesn’t just help change lives – it can help strengthen your business and have huge benefits to society too