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Volume

1 SELF DIRECTED LEARNING

Catholic Community Services

ProvideSupport To People Living With Dementia


Stage 1 – Provide Support to People Living With Dementia

Catholic Community Services supports independence, empowerment and the achievement of aspirations for clients, carers, families and communities through a comprehensive network of programs and services. We promote a strengths based enabling culture that recognises the need for dignity, respect, growth and independence in a person's life. We believe that everyone has the potential to improve their capacity and make gains in their wellbeing. Our services aim to contribute to improved outcomes for individuals, families and communities.

 Catholic Community Services 2010


Table of Contents Introduction

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SNAPSHOT – Catholic Community Services

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What Do You Know About Dementia?

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What Is Dementia?

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Who Gets Dementia?

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Early Signs Why Have An Assessment

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Other Effects of Dementia Current Research into Dementia

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Symptoms & Signs of Dementia

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Self Test

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Elder Abuse, Neglect & Domestic / Family Violence

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Understanding & Communicating

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How to Communicate with a Client who Can’t Speak

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Self Test Answers

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CHCAC319A - Provide Support to People Living With Dementia This unit is mapped to a Level 3 competency standard from CHC08 Community Services Training Package

What you will learn: •

To Work with a basic understanding of dementia

To Support individual needs of people with dementia using a person-centred approach to care and address individual needs for a stable, familiar environment

To Work with awareness of the impact of physical, social and emotional aspects of the environment on the person with dementia

To Work with awareness of the impacts that dementia may have on the family, carers and significant others

To Recognise signs of financial, physical and emotional abuse or neglect of the client and report to the appropriate person

A range of Communication Strategies to maximise engagement of the person with Dementia such as eye contact, gentle touch (where appropriate), short simple statements

To Gain Cooperation and provide assurance as appropriate to individual clients by using reality orientation including: reminders of the day, time, relationships, occasions and using reassuring words, phrases and body language

(Adapted from Aspire educational Solutions – Provide support to people living with dementia, pgs vi, vii)

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SNAPSHOT - Catholic Community Services Community education, awareness and advocacy for people with Dementia There is still a lack of knowledge about dementia in the community despite its growing presence. Clients, carers and other family and community members can access information and support through our training sessions and workshops. We also work to educate others, within the sector, about dementia related issues. Some of the services we provide include; Running information sessions for Carers, family members and people with Dementia to increase awareness of the range of services available in the community Providing dementia education and awareness sessions for staff within the industry, local community groups and other agencies Working with other health and community service providers to identify areas of need in the local community. Dementia Day Services go sailing! Recognising the need for people with dementia to actively participate in community life, a regular summer sailing program has been introduced for active members of our Dementia Day Services. Clients help with packing picnic lunches and wet weather gear, just in case, before boarding the bus bound for The Spit. The CD player belts out old favourites and everyone joins in on the journey to the water. Clients report it is "the best day ever" and the photographs prove the program has been a great success. http://catholiccommunityservices.com.au/

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What do you know about Dementia? D E M E N T I A Our knowledge and belief about dementia and people with dementia are revealed in the words we use. Think about words to describe your understanding and see how many you can jot down beside the letters that form the word above. Are there any extra words you can think of, add them to the list. •

These words reflect our attitudes, feelings and beliefs towards dementia and people with dementia.

We can show how these thoughts, beliefs and feelings balance by listing the words into two categories such as ‘helpful’ and ‘hindrance’’

On the following page you will see a table with the headings ‘Helpful’ and ‘Hindrance’. Using your words above, decide which column best suits your word and list your words into the appropriate column.

When you are finished, take a moment to look at the columns. Are they equally balanced? What does this tell us? Did you think of more words that are ‘Helpful’ or more words that are considered to be ‘Hindrance’?

Working with people with dementia can sometimes cause strong feelings. Often, though, our feelings are more positive. We can gain a lot of satisfaction from our efforts and help make a difference for our clients and their carers.

(Some examples of words: dignity, disease, energy, empathy, manage, medication, effort, exercise, non-judgemental, nurture, tolerance, time, independent, initiative, anyone, assist, Alzheimer’s, caring, manage, stress, health, brain damage, carer, confusion, guilt, ability, memory, capable, close, support) (Dementia Care Learning Program, pgs 77 – 80. Commonwealth Department of Human Services & Health – HACC 1994)

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HELPFUL

HINDRANCE

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What is Dementia? Dementia means loss of memory and other intellectual functions Dementia’s main features are: a progressive and usually irreversible memory loss; decline in intellectual ability; and personality change. Dementia is not a disease, but rather an umbrella term for a variety of symptoms that may accompany or indicate certain diseases or conditions. Today over 100 different conditions are known to cause dementia symptoms. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. It accounts for more than 50% of all cases. Multi-infarct dementia, which is caused by many small strokes, is the second most common form. It accounts for about 25% of all cases.

DEMENTIA Alzheimer’s disease 50% Multi-infarct 25% Combination of Alzheimer’s and multi-infarct 15 – 20%

Some other causes of dementia are: •

Excessive use of alcohol over a long time

Thyroid disease

Brain tumours, severe head injury

AIDS

Huntington’s Chorea and many other less common conditions

(Adapted from: Mercy Family Centre Dementia Care Demonstration Project, Community Options Program, McAuley Place, Waitara)

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Who gets Dementia? Dementia is not considered a normal part of the aging process. As people are living longer in our society, there are more people developing dementia. Australia’s population will continue to get older and because of these changes, the incidence of dementia is likely to increase over time.

Year

Number of people with dementia

2003

175,000

2009

245,000

2050

1,130,000

In 2003, of the 175,000 people with dementia, 64% of these were female and 81% were aged 75 or older. It is predicted that by 2050 this number will grow to 1.13 million as the population grows and ages. Most people living with mild dementia live in their own homes and most with moderate or severe dementia are living in residential care. (Australia Institute of Health and Welfare 2006, Dementia in Australia: National data analysis and development, Statistics from “Keeping Dementia front of the Mind: Incidence & Prevalence 2009 – 2050” alzheimers.org.au)

Dementia can happen to anyone at any age, but becomes increasingly common after the age of 65 years. People in their 40’s and 50’s can also have dementia. This is known as Younger Onset Dementia. As the population ages, with the increase in the incidence of dementia there is pressure on support services that provide for the aged or people with dementia. Governments are responding to this increase by providing additional funding to programs that support older people and those with dementia, for example home and community care programs (HACC), community aged care packages (CACP), extended care at home packages (EACH), Respite and Carer Support services and Residential care places. In addition, the number of family members acting as carers will diminish due to the ageing of the carer population, greater participation by women in the workforce, increased rates of family breakdown and the tendency for smaller families. Today 74% of support provided to older people and people with a disability is provided by unpaid family and informal care. There are currently 57 primary carers available for every 100 older people needing care. By 2031 this number is expected to drop to 35 primary carers for every 100 people needing care. The other impact of the increasing need for care in the community is the need for high quality, skilled, flexible and dedicated community care staff. Future workers will need to be more highly skilled to meet the complex needs of the clients, such as those with dementia.

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These charts show how the incidence of moderate to severe dementia increases with age: Under 65 years, 1 in 1,000 people will have dementia  ☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺ ☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺ ☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺ ☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺… From 65 to 70 years, 1 in 25 people will have dementia  ☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺ From 70 to 80 years, 1 in 10 people will have dementia  ☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺ Over 80 years, 1 in 4 people will have dementia  ☺☺☺

(Commonwealth Department of Human Services & Health – Dementia Care Learning Program September 1994)

Early Signs Symptoms of dementia can vary widely with different diseases and different people, even in those with the same condition. For example, in the early stages of dementia, the person may have lapses of memory, and the ability to make judgements and decisions may be affected. Following the trend of a conversation, doing calculations and following directions may also be difficult. The person may forget how to follow a familiar route or prepare a meal. Symptoms may become more obvious when the person is emotionally stressed, tired or ill. Family and friends will usually notice personality changes.

Why have an Assessment? A medical assessment is critical at an early stage when symptoms first appear. It is important to diagnose if the person has dementia. Sometimes dementia-like symptoms are caused by a condition that can be treated, improved or reversed. These conditions include: •

Some vitamin and hormone deficiencies

Some brain tumours

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Medication clashes or over-medication

Depression

Psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and mania

Infections e.g.: urine or chest

Electrolyte imbalance

When these and all other possible causes are ruled out, the person is assumed to have Alzheimer’s disease. (Adapted from: Alzheimer’s Disease and related Disorders Association of NSW, Dementia poster, 1994)

Other Effects of Dementia The changes caused by dementia effect the physical, social and emotional life of the person with dementia, their carer, family and friends. Loss of memory with dementia is different from forgetfulness. It is persistent and progressive. It means losing a job, forgetting to eat, not being able to find one’s way. Eventually it means forgetting how to dress, how to attend to personal hygiene, or how to finish a sentence. These changes must be known and understood by carers and workers if they are to provide quality care.

Current Research into Dementia In past years, people who had dementia were often placed in institutions and considered ‘mad’ and incapable of contributing to their own care or their community. The health sector now acknowledges the person first and their dementia second. Health care professionals make a plan of care that aims to encourage the person to maintain their skills and independence and focuses on their personal preferences, belief and culture. Services are designed to assist people to remain in their own homes, or with their own family for as long as possible.

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Symptoms and Stages of Dementia Written by Jane Verity “Dementia symptoms are often grouped in ‘stages’ – here we refer to 4 different stages. These stages should only serve as guides though as each person responds differently to their particular symptoms, and stages can fluctuate and overlap. A person may show symptoms common to the early stage one minute and those common to middle or late stage the next. These variations can be very much dependent on whether the person is experiencing an underlying physical condition or the lack of genuine respect and appreciation. Though a person may appear muddled one particular day – or in the morning or afternoon – this doesn’t mean that the person is ‘locked’ at that point or has moved on to the next stage. It only means that this is where he or she is at that particular moment and this may change and the person may revert to being quite clear again. The definitions we use here for the 4 stages are expressed from the point of view of social psychology; and are different from those of the medical model, which focuses mainly on the deterioration occurring in the brain. We can all be forgetful at times. Who hasn’t gone to another room and arrived to wonder what they were doing there? Who hasn’t forgotten what day it is momentarily, especially when on holidays? Who hasn’t misplaced their car keys on occasions? The difference for the person with dementia is that he or she may find the keys but not know what to do with them. In the first stage, people with dementia begin to experience that something is not right – ‘The old memory is playing up.’ They may feel embarrassed or frightened when they recognize changes in their memory or thinking. Family and friends begin to question and comment on the changes and forgetfulness. The person is likely to fight to keep up the façade of ‘normality’ and being in control. They might do things, such as making up a little story to fill the memory gap of someone or something they can’t remember. Professionals label this gap filling as ‘confabulation’. However, this ‘story’ telling or gap filling does not mean that the person is telling a lie. It is actually a creative, self-defence mechanism that helps the person to keep up the façade. It will help supportive partners and ‘carers’ to understand if they can imagine it in this way too. The person may express anger or annoyance to direct questions requiring memory or thinking skills. A seemingly simple question, such as: ‘Where were you born?’ may elicit a snappy, ‘That’s none of your business!’ Also, the person might blame others for his or her memory lapses. Lydia cannot find her glasses. She asks her husband, Eric, ‘Have you seen my glasses?’ Eric recalls seeing them earlier in the bedroom, and says, ‘Have a look on the bedside table. I think you put them there.’ Lydia is not going to admit that she might have put the glasses there herself and forgotten; so she says, ‘Well, you must have put them there, because I didn’t.’ This type of response is easy to take as an accusation, but it is not. It is simply the person fighting to hold on to a small piece of control and to keep up the façade.

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Sometimes the person in this first stage can drive family and friends wild wanting to check and recheck everything. Paul may ask, ‘Is it today that my son is coming?’ ‘What is the time?’ ‘Is today Monday?’ He checks again and again, until patience frays and frustration builds. It is important to remember that Paul is not doing this to annoy you; he is simply trying to reassure himself that he is in control. People in this early stage seem to use every opportunity to exercise the control they feel they are losing. When Mary says, ‘Mum, we are going out at 3 o’clock,’ and they have not left by 10 past 3, Mum may pull her up. ‘You said we were leaving at 3, and it’s 10 past 3!’ Mum is not trying to challenge Mary; she is simply trying to show that she remembers that they had a different arrangement. In this first stage, people with dementia generally use much the same language as most people do. They might forget a word, a phrase or a memory and then create a little story to fill the memory gap. Sometimes they may also appear vague in the way they communicate. Instead of Stan saying, ‘Please give me the cup,’ he forgets the word cup and (while pointing at it) might say, ‘Please give me that one.’ He might use vague phrases such as, ‘Something has happened’, or, ‘Something is not right.’ These are just two examples of the wonderful way people with dementia compensate for missing memories. Or they may try to get us to create multiple-choice questions so they only have to answer one of them, and, in that way, we jog their memory too. For example you might ask Stan, ‘Where have you been?’ his response might be, ‘Oh, you know where.’ Note: It is far easier for people with dementia to recognise situations that are described to them rather than to remember something out-of-the-blue. In the second stage, people with dementia are far more relaxed and inclined to give in and let go. They may start to withdraw and appear to become preoccupied with the past, thinking back to happy times, restoring old memories and sometimes living in that time and reality. Their way of communicating may change too. Sentence construction may not be as clear. They might start a sentence, and it make perfect sense; but then it becomes muddled in the middle and ends as ‘gobbledegook’, which is hard to understand. If they can’t remember a word, they might create one. Often the words will be familiar, only now put together in an innovative way creating a poetic new word or phrase. Here is a great personal example of how this can occur. One day we were out driving. Suddenly, Mum pointed out of the window and said, ‘Look at that beautiful water nest.’ I looked across at the dam in the paddock and thought, ‘What is she talking about?’ Then I realised. Mum couldn’t remember the word for dam, so, instead, she’d said, ‘water nest.’ A far more beautiful word picture than dam! Another time, she said, ‘I can’t find my rain stick’. I did have to wonder for a moment about this rain stick?

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Of course, Mum meant her umbrella. Once we work out the intended meaning, it can seem so obvious. People who have dementia develop their own wonderful language. Each person is unique and so will develop an individual style of language that those closest to them will learn to understand. A close family member may even get to a point where he or she doesn’t even think of it as different. In the second stage, the person may start to mix up relationships and generations, such as Emily believing her son to be her deceased husband, or Ray believing his niece is his sister. The person may start to address you by a different name. Just because you are addressed in this way for a short time does not mean it will last forever. It may only be that the person is preoccupied, for the moment, in thinking about Mum or Dad. So, when you appear, you may temporarily become Mum or Dad. In this stage, the person may still be able to do many things, but might become sidetracked when starting on something new. Evelyn pulls out a drawer to put something away. Once the drawer is open, she is inspired by what she sees inside and forgets what she came to do. Instead, she begins to empty the contents. John may begin to set the table using the correct movements; but once he spreads out the tablecloth, he forgets what he is doing. Suddenly, re-inspired, he begins to fold the cloth up again and puts it away. Some of these actions can be frustrating, but they are easier to understand when we know that the person is not deliberately trying to frustrate or irritate; it is simply that he or she sets out to do the one thing, and then gets distracted. In the third stage, people with dementia start to withdraw even further into the past and become so preoccupied with their memories that they ‘live’ almost entirely in that time and reality. They may also start to wander. When this happens, it is important to know that there is usually a valid reason. Either the person is looking for something or someone, or is trying to prevent boredom. The person may also start expressing needs, wants and feelings increasingly through body language – using gestures and actions. For example: Some may sit picking minute fluff-balls off clothing, wringing their hands, or appear to be kneading dough or mending clothes. These are ways of going back into the past and recreating a time when they felt needed, useful and special. Often these positive experiences are missing for them in this reality. These movements do have purpose, even if they might seem strange to us. Language, at this stage, may consist mainly of one-syllable words, such as ‘Yes’ and ‘No’, interspersed with only a key word. This key word might be a noun or a verb, but is always something that has particular meaning and that we can take note of to help us understand what is being talked about. The person may become incontinent in the third stage, but, remember, this may not necessarily happen.

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In the fourth stage, people with dementia may completely shut out the outside world. They might sit in a chair or lie in bed staring straight into thin air, or they might have their eyes closed. They may not respond when someone walks into the room or speaks to them. Today, we know that the person at this stage still hears and experiences through touch, and it is extremely important that we continue to talk with them and still make physical contact.”

About the Spark of Life Spark of Life is a simple, well-researched approach for enhancing the lives of people with dementia. It's a simple step-by-step guided approach, which boosts quality of life for both the carer and the person with dementia. It works equally well in the home as in an aged care facility. Spark of Life provides the practical 'how to' combined with the vital personal and emotional support needed by both the person with dementia and their carer. It has been devised by Jane Verity through her experience with Person Centred Care and the Eden Alternative. Her Spark of Life Approach has been adopted in the US, Scandinavia, Europe and Australia, with outstanding results. For more information about this program: www.dementiacareaustralia.com

Self Test

T /F

Question 1: Dementia is another word for Alzheimer’s disease Question 2: Most old people get dementia Question 3: There is no medical cure for dementia Question 4: You can’t die from dementia; you only become more and more disabled Question 5: People with dementia become very anxious and obsessive in their behaviour Question 6: Memory exercise and intellectual challenges will stop you from getting dementia Question 7: You can get dementia when you are young, in 40’s or 30’s Question 8: Dementia is an inherited disease; it is mostly in your genes

(Answers can be found on page 18)

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Elder Abuse, Neglect & Domestic / Family Violence (www.police.nsw.gov.au/community_issues/domestic__and__family_violence/elder_abuse)

Elder Abuse, by its’ very nature, can result in serious consequences for senior or elderly family members. Often age and medical or mental health of the elderly increases their vulnerability and diminishes their capability for self-protection. The progression of age and/or a combination of medical conditions increases vulnerability to risk of harm by abuse and neglect. Their ability to recognise their own level of risk diminishes, together with their ability to recognise that certain behaviour actually constitutes abuse and neglect. This level of vulnerability and their circumstances can be the subject of manipulation, further induced confusion and abuse by a perpetrator. Elder Abuse frequently includes deprivation and restrictions to the person, personal freedom, social contact, freedom of movement, economic and financial freedom, access to medical treatment, provision of safe and clean living conditions and access to external support networks. As a consequence, their ability to seek help or report the abuse may often be blocked by their lack of confidence or restricted by the lack of opportunity arising from their situation. It is important to recognise that spousal or other family violence against seniors can escalate and lead to death. According to available information, the suspicious sudden death of senior family members most commonly stems from the escalation of an argument. Other factors, like frustration, anger and despair are also common underlying motives. In these cases, there may be a history of violence involving the family. Another issue arising from the vulnerability of senior family members relates to management of their financial affairs. More often, in the cases of a sudden suspicious death or homicide of a senior family member, financial gain has been a motivation. This stems from the greater likelihood of seniors being dependant on relatives for the management of their finances, and as such should be a trigger for all family members and friends to have an increased awareness of their financial circumstances. Many aspects need to be considered in the safety planning for the elderly as part of the overall provision of services and support. This includes training for younger family members and awareness for the elderly to recognise the risk of potential abuse and harm and to tell someone when they feel at risk. It is also appropriate and important for senior members of a family to have a number of close supportive friends and contacts outside of their family. Seniors members should be encouraged to participate in social activities outside of the home environment. If you know of any client living in circumstances that may cause you to be concerned for their welfare or if you believe them to be at risk, you must contact the client’s Coordinator immediately. They will then provide all necessary assistance.

If you have any concerns about senior family members or acquaintances contact your Local Police Station or to find your local Aged Care Assessment Team contact Commonwealth Carelink Centre on 1800 052 222, or the Aged Care Information Line on 1800 500 853.

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Understanding & Communicating Communication is so much more than merely the exchange of words. Words make up only 7% of our communication; tone of voice 38% and our body language 55%. So we have many ways and means of getting a message across. Successful communication and understanding comes when we look, listen and respond to physical messages as well as to a person’s words. As a Community Worker your aim is to make the most of your communication efforts with the client. Clients with dementia can easily get distracted and find it hard to remember what they were doing. There are a number of things you should always remember to do when communicating: •

Show respect for the client

Treat each client as an adult

Remain calm and patient

Take a break when you need to

Speak clearly and simply

Allow time for each period of communication

Focus only on what you are saying or doing at the time

Some Communication strategies Eye Contact – Look at your client’s eyes so that they know you are talking to them. This will help you to gain their attention and limit the number of distractions around them. Older people from some cultural backgrounds may be upset by someone making eye contact that is too close to them, remember to respect cultural differences and do what is right for each individual. Reminders – need to be short and precise, consider writing down reminders for the client. Reminders should not be given too far in advance, as this will cause confusion. Constant reminders help people remember what you have said. A reminder given once only, a few hours before the event, will be forgotten. A reminder given a few times in the minutes leading up to the event may be remembered. For example when assisting someone with personal care you could say something like the following: •

You are going to have your shower now and I will help you

Now we will go to the bedroom so I can get you ready for the shower

Let’s go to the bathroom so that you can get into the shower

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Direct Statements – Keep your sentences short and to the point. Always talk about easyto-understand ideas, don’t choose topics that require a lot of thought. For example, “It’s time now for your shower” is easier to understand than “I just have to fill out this paperwork, and then I will be back to give you your shower, I’m sure you would like a nice warm shower” Questioning – People with dementia have trouble understanding; they cannot remember a lot of information. They cannot remember things over a long period of time and they have trouble making decisions. You will have to make some changes to how you speak and ask questions. To help with this reduce the length of your sentences. This makes it easier for people with dementia to follow your conversation. Do not ask questions that have many answers. Do not ask difficult questions. A question with many answers is called an open-ended question for example, “What would you like to do today?” As you can see there are too many choices and this will cause confusion. Ask questions that have a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer for example, “Would you like to listen to the radio now?” This is an example of a closed question and is more useful for getting information quickly and easily. They are easier for the client to answer. Touch – Sometimes a light touch on the arm can be useful to gain the client’s attention. Always use gentle touch and hand movements that are suited to each person, don’t touch a person who clearly does not want to be touched and show respect for cultural differences.

(Adapted from Aspire educational Solutions – Provide support to people living with dementia, pgs 44 – 46)

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How to Communicate with a Client who Can’t Speak Family members or carers can provide the best information about the client. Liaise with the family and ask them how they best communicate with their loved one. This acknowledges the family member as important and provides assistance to best care for the client. Written by Jane Verity “Communicating with someone who can no longer speak in words or sentences can sometimes seem like a tough task. The good news People with dementia still do communicate, even if they can no longer use words or sentences. Today we know that most people with dementia retain the ability to communicate, at least in one-syllable words, such as Yes or No. The only exceptions to this rule are people in the final stage of dementia or who have suffered a stroke or similar condition that may have affected their ‘speech circuitry’. A Yes or No answer can be given in 3 different ways by: Saying the words out loud, Shaking or nodding the head to indicate a response and Using facial expressions e.g. looking up and making eye contact; smiling or looking down for a Yes, or: looking straight into space or giving no reaction at all for a No. Be a good listener The objective of communicating with someone who can’t put words or sentences together is to help the person make sense of what is going on inside his or her mind and to express it. The first essential to being a good listener is to listen with your heart, to listen with feeling. Ask yourself: What is the person attempting to communicate?, What is the need that is not fulfilled? Intuition Use your intuition as a guide to help you guess what the person is attempting to communicate. Intuition is our lightning fast ability to take in information and process it in relation to anything we have learned previously or experienced. It gives us our initial response to a question. Once we have guessed what the person is attempting to communicate, we need to acknowledge the need or feeling that is being expressed, then check this ‘guessed’ need or feeling with the person. Contrary to myths… people with dementia do know how they feel and what their needs are. They simply express them differently and it is our obligation to tune into their special way of sharing their needs and feelings.” www.dementiacareaustralia.com

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Self Test Answers Question 1: Dementia is another word for Alzheimer’s disease. Answer: FALSE - Dementia is a set of symptoms associated with the loss of intellectual ability. It can be caused by different conditions and diseases. 50 – 70% of people with dementia have Alzheimer’s Question 2: Most old people get dementia Answer: FALSE – As people get older they are more likely to get dementia. Under 65 years, 1 in 1,000 people will have dementia, From 65 to 70 years, 1 in 25 people will have dementia, From 70 to 80 years, 1 in 10 people will have dementia, Over 80 years, 1 in 4 people will have dementia Question 3: There is no medical cure for dementia Answer: TRUE – There is no cure for dementia but there are treatments that reduce the symptoms in the early stages Question 4: You can’t die from dementia; you only become more and more disabled Answer: FALSE – In the end the brain fails to read the messages from the body and it stops working Question 5: People with dementia become very anxious and obsessive in their behaviour Answer: FALSE – With good communication people with dementia can remain calm and are less likely to be obsessive Question 6: Memory exercise and intellectual challenges will stop you from getting dementia Answer: FALSE – Memory exercises and intellectual challenges can stimulate the brain pathways but they cannot stop you from getting the disease Question 7: You can get dementia when you are young, in 40’s or 30’s Answer: TRUE – But it is rare Question 8: Dementia is an inherited disease; it is mostly in your genes Answer: FALSE – Family history and genes influence your likelihood of getting the disease, so does culture and environment. The rest is bad luck.

(Adapted from ‘Strangers in a Strange Land’ – Workplace Learning Initiative P/L)

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Dementia Training stage One