We all need to do our part to help improve dementia awareness in Australia. While our awareness is improving each year, many people stay silent.
Almost half a million Australians are living with dementia and another 1.6 million are involved in supporting someone living with dementia. Rates of dementia are set to double in the next 25 years. Recent reports indicate that this may be even higher due to the impact of isolation exacerbated by COVID 19.
It is not all bad news. A wide range of support is available, so it is important to remind people during this annual Dementia Action Week you are not alone.
While support from organisations like Ozcare cannot take dementia away, help can make the journey easier for people living with dementia.
People can feel overwhelmed when living with dementia or cognitive changes, but support can make a big difference. It is our great privilege to be care partners for people living with dementia.
Here are 10 tips the staff at Ozcare have come up with for supporting people with dementia:
- Acknowledge feelings and loss
- Focus on what the person can still do
- Smile and make eye contact
- Remember body language is important for communication
- Introduce yourself
- Explain who you are and why you are there
- Get to know the person
- Understand their life history and preferences
- Involve the person
- Come up with good choices and meaningful activities
- Slow down
- Stop, listen and observe
- Communicate clearly and know the person’s abilities
- One simple point or question at a time
- Consider safety and professional boundaries
- Respect preferences for personal space
- Create a calm but enriched environment
- Minimise noise or perhaps play music the person likes
- Be flexible
- Remember each person’s needs are unique
If you would like more information about how to support a person with dementia, please contact Ozcare’s Dementia Advisory Service on 1800 Ozcare (1800 692 273).
Article by Merril Gillman, Ozcare Dementia Advisor