19 Aug 2016
Dementia Care Atlas and the Postcode Lottery
This week (August 16), Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt unveiled a dementia atlas that illustrates the levels of NHS dementia care across England, using statistics recorded by the NHS as part
“Working with a dementia client means being able to put yourself in their shoes,” says Sally Mawji, one of our live-in care managers. Sally is on a mission to train all Trinity Homecare staff and carers to become Alzheimer’s Society, Dementia Champions.
The initiative was set up by the society to train thousands of people across the UK to become more understanding and aware of dementia. As a trainer for the organisation, Sally is passionate about giving insight into how we can help people live well with the condition.
“The key is for carers and families to realise there is more to a person than the diagnosis,” explains Sally. “It’s about understanding the behaviour.”
Dementia is an umbrella term for a collection of symptoms that can cause long term and often gradual decrease in the ability to think, remember and carry out simple everyday tasks.
As Sally explains, it isn’t just about losing memory but the person with dementia can actually seem lost in time, meaning they can have unusual or chaotic behaviour.
“It’s like a bookcase, with the lower book shelves holding the earliest memories and the top shelves the most recent,” says Sally. “When the bookcase begins to wobble, the top shelf memories begin to fall – meaning someone is more likely to forget what they have had for breakfast or whether they have taken their medication.”
Realising where an individual is in their bookcase of memories can be vital. Sally remembers one client who used to become very agitated around 2.45 in the afternoon.
No amount of calming her down in “real-time” helped, until the carer worked out this was the time she used to collect her children from school and she was re-living the memory.
Connecting with that memory by preparing for a walk at that time every day began to calm her down and made her feel safe.
“It’s about being open, and aware,” says Sally. “That way, we can become more patient and reassuring.”
If you’re interested in becoming a Dementia Champion, Sally will be running ongoing hourly sessions throughout the year, so please drop her a line on firstname.lastname@example.org.