DEM 308 Understand the role of communication and interactions with individuals who have dementia
1. Understand that individuals with dementia may communicate in different ways
1.1 Explain how individuals with dementia may communicate through their behaviour
The way a person is behaving is usually a good indicator of what they are trying to communicate, especially if they have difficulty expressing their feelings with words. Body language will also provide clues. People wish to be heard and validated and the way they behave may indicate how they are feeling. so a person presenting as angry may be feeling frustrated. People presenting as sad may be experiencing vivid memories of a past event that seems very real and current to them. Someone with dementia may feel they are losing control of their world so they may come across as cantankerous or even aggressive when you enter their home.
1.2 Give examples of how carers and others may misinterpret communication
Initially people experiencing memory losses may feel frustrated or angry with themselves and this may come across as being angry with someone else. An inability to have empathy could make the person appear selfish and a loss of social etiquette could result in the client making thoughtless comments, being rude or exhibiting sexual behaviours in public. Asking the same question in a short space of time or repeating conversations may appear as if the client isn’t listening.
1.3 Explain the importance of effective communication to an individual with dementia
A person with dementia lives in a very frightening world where things that have just happened are immediately lost. The person may also forget where they live, what age they are or where their loved ones are. A carer or anyone else can help to make the world a little easier to understand by remaining patient and reassuring the person by telling them the facts that they are missing. It may be necessary to repeat the information such as “Your daughter is at work at the moment” or “This is your house, you have lived here for ten years.”
1.4 Describe how different forms of dementia may affect the way an individual communicates
Alzheimers disease is a degenerative brain disease that causes chemical and structural changes to the brain which destroys the ability to remember, reason or relate to others. This means that the person may lose empathetic feelings towards others and may not recognise someone from one day to the next. Alzheimers can affect speech and language. A person may lose words gradually or get the order of their words muddled which makes conversation very difficult.
Vascular dementia is caused by a series of mini strokes or by a gradual failure of brain cells. This can result in the person being unable to understand what is being said to them and cannot therefore respond.
Dementia with Lewy Bodies disease affects the cerebellum part of the brain. This can cause difficulties with balance, co-ordination and visual recognition. The person may have hallucinations which are very real to them. A person with this illness will eventually not recognise their loved ones which makes intimate interaction impossible, and the person Is unable to act with the familiarity towards people that they used to. 2. Understand the importance of positive interactions with individuals with dementia
2.1 Give examples of positive interactions with individuals who have dementia In my role I deal with clients who present many different behaviours associated with dementia. One lady likes to talk for the entire visit about her role working for the police in her past. It is more important to the client that she is listened to and that she has your attention as this makes her feel validated. A gentleman who is still quite active enjoys visiting places locally that hold a meaning from his past. I take him to the church where he was married or to a garden centre and this allows him to talk fondly...
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