I would also suggest reading a few of the Alzheimer fact sheets as they are very informative.
'Person Centred' care is the most appropriate learning course you could benefit from. This type of care is concerned with the person as central to the caring. In order to give this type of care you do need to learn the history of the person you are caring for - not just the medical history but the personal history. What was important in the person's life? What did they used to do which made them happy? Where were they born and what was life like? All of these things mean 'chatting' to the person. You will not only benefit, but the person in care will also benefit as they see someone is actually interested in them. Did you know that the Alzheimer Society have produced a report which states that the average carer speaks for only 5 minutes per shift to a person in their care?
Also observe the person carefully, can you identify why they are fidgetting and unsettled? Have they been to the toilet? Is the room too noisy/quiet/hot/cold for their personal comfort. An old lady who constantly counts her money and fidgets in her handbag will, I'm sure have something in her history suggesting that she was always anxious about money etc., etc., In other words, a good carer is a caring person who treats each person in their care as an individual.
I could go on and on but I'm sure you will learn and absorb this and more on your course.
Hi Jools,I am also a support worker doing a course on working with people with dementia and their carers. What course are you doing and what help do you need? You have come to the right forum just reading peoples real life daily struggles has made me feel humbled. If you want to we could swap E-mail addresses so we can give each other a bit of help and support? Good luck anyway. Jill
I found this on another forum. It was written by a lady with dementia and I found it very insightful. It is as person centred as it gets. I hope it is alright to post it here.
A friend sent me a writing that I had written over ago. As I read it tears came to my eyes as I didn't realize it was one of my writings until I read it over and over and over again.
There are ALL kinds of books that have been written clinically and scientifically from professionals of all walks of life about dementia. These books profoundly state what the symptoms are? How old you HAVE to be to be diagnosed. Books that describe the different stages. Books that tell about the different medications that are available to treat the symptoms of the disease. These books also tell us how we should treat our loved ones with dementia, how we should take care of them, what we should do, what we shouldn't do. The books also tell us how we should feed them, what we should feed them, how we should dress them and keep them potty trained, what type of a routine they need to be on, how to keep them awake during the daytime, how to make them sleep at night. These books even tell us how to keep your loved one happy and active, when to get your POA and Guardianship papers drawn up. These books give all of these answers and more but these books do not tell HOW OUR LOVED ONES WANT TO BE TREATED only what they think should be. What they are forgetting is that one day they could be this person with dementia and then would they want all of these demands put upon them? Probably not.
The answers that are not in the book are the important things such as, if we are in the final stages and do not want to eat, do not force feed us. Don't grind our meat up to look like something that the cat just spit up. Would you want it? probably not.
Don't force us take our clothes off and take a shower, but be patient and treat us with dignity and respect. Help us to bathe from our chair, help us brush our teeth or our gums and to put on clean clothes, but please don't scold us for a fear of the unknown.
Don't force us to get up in the morning, help us turn from one side to another to keep our skin healthy. Open the curtains to let the sunshine in, read us a story or just sit and talk with us. Remember, we are still human.
Don't force us to go places that we no longer remember. Show us a picture and tell us about this long forgotten place and maybe, just maybe, we will decide on our own to go with you, but if we don't, don't be angry, remember that you were that way many years ago.
Don't force us to go to bed, tell us that it is time. Help us change into our night clothes, dim the lights, turn some music on from our day years ago, soft and low and sit near us, let us know once again that we are not alone.
Encourage us to take our medicine. There will come a time that no matter what we take, the medicine will no longer work and the disease will have won its battle with us. Don't yell at us or curse at us, remember we have fought long and hard, now we just need to rest at our own pace not at the pace of medical technology.
These are some of the answers that you won't find in a book but only from the eyes and heart of a person with dementia.