EXPERTS at a leading Welsh care provider are championing a variety of different techniques to use when caring for people with dementia (April, 2017).
Abacare, which has offices in Bangor, Newtown, Rhondda Cynon Taf (RCT) and Ystradgynlais, says it is important to use different techniques for people with the condition and the company has rolled these out as part of its carers training.
Ffion Evans, Registered Manager at Abacare, said: “We have worked with people with dementia for many years and through this we have developed a variety of different techniques which can be used when caring for someone with the condition.
“We have found the techniques to be extremely helpful and as a company we now instil these techniques within our carers training programmes to make sure our service users with dementia are properly cared for.
“It is important to use different techniques with different people. And the following are just some of the ones we use regularly:
- Life story books and boxes – a booklet that is added to frequently, detailing a person’s past life, their culture, their family, work, hobbies and fun times.
- Reality orientation – reminders about where they are, the time, the day, where we are, what we are doing, when we are eating.
- Music – a service user we support loves to sing and enjoys musicals. We encourage this and take her to church choir music sessions, watch DVDs of old musicals that she chooses, and have the radio on if she wishes. If a person is mobile, it can be fun to dance too.
- Validation – we do have times when a service user asks for their partner or other, we do not tell them that they have died as this would gain nothing other than upsetting them again and again. We simply divert by asking them questions about their partner or mother and try to focus on the good memories that they have. Sharing good times and memories is very rewarding for both the service user and the carer.”
Dementia affects a person’s ability to communicate, so they may need to develop alternative ways of expressing their feelings.
Non-verbal communication, including body language and the tone of voice of carers, will become increasingly important.
Ffion added: “A person with dementia may have a different sense of reality. By understanding this we can begin to be aware of what they might be feeling and be able to interpret their behaviour.
“We also recommend our carers simplify sentences and instructions so that they are not asking too much in one statement. Enable service users to have as much control over their life as possible and help the person by using visual or pictorial cues and planners to structure their day.
“A ‘life story book’ or ‘memory box’ of photos and mementos from the person’s past is also a useful way to help the person interact and reminisce.
“Relaxation techniques such as massage, aromatherapy and familiar music can be effective and enjoyable. Someone with dementia may be able to sing or hum a favourite tune even after they have lost the ability to speak.”
Abacare operates a professional Care Management Team that is committed to providing high quality care to individuals in their own homes.
The large team of trained, specialist, care workers provide positive based outcomes and person centred care to people throughout Wales.
Abacare’s core values, instilled into every staff member, include ‘make us proud’, ‘focus on our service users’ wellbeing’, ‘communicate, listen well and speak with respect’, ‘be passionate, honest, caring and considerate’, ‘recruit and develop the very best’ and ‘lead by example’.
It believes it offers inspiring work for inspirational people.
It is a member of the United Kingdom Homecare Association, Ceretas (formerly British Association of Domiciliary Care), The National Homecare Council and The Information Commissioners Office (Data Protection). It is also registered with the Care Social Services Inspectorate Wales.
Abacare has been awarded an Investors in People accolade for its staff training and development for the fourth year running.
Investors in People is a national standard, which provides a framework that helps organisations to improve performance and realise objectives through the effective management and development of their staff.
It was also named Britain’s ‘Most Outstanding Care Agency’ at the UK Over 50s Housing Awards in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
For more information about Abacare, please call the Bangor office on 01248 677919, the Newtown office on 01686 625644, the RCT office on 01443 742645 or call the Ystradgynlais office on 01639 844155 or visit www.abacare.org.uk. Alternatively, please follow the company on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/Yn4zmS or on Twitter by visiting www.twitter.com/visitabacare.