Alzheimer’s education

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A WORD FROM: Alzheimer’s Otago community educator Donna Watt.

 

Well, it has been a year of upheaval and increased stress, hasn’t it?
Here at Alzheimer’s Otago, we are also managing change as we realign our services to better meet the needs expressed by our community.
This means you may see some changes in the way we work, especially in other parts of Otago.
Here in Central, however, my role is only slightly changed.
I will be doing more education, with a range of sessions on offer, so please be in touch if your group or organisation would like to become more dementia friendly and aware.
I know that many of you will be taking the time to catch up with family this Christmas, while acknowledging the real grief of those who cannot do so.
If you have not seen your loved one with dementia for a while, here are some simple tips to help make the visit easier for everyone.
– Remember my likes and dislikes, and entertain me by telling stories about the old days.
– Look me in the eye and smile — I will notice your body language and tone, and how you make me feel.
– Slow down — give me time to process information, answer, or to get ready for action.
– Ask others for advice about how to make me comfortable or how to deal with any problems.
– Introduce yourself every time — I may not remember you and I will be stressed by this.
– Understand that when I tell you something, my story is my truth, and I am making sense of my world as best I can — so go with my flow.
– Keep it quiet — too many people, and too much noise and distraction are hard for me.
– Step into my world, reassure me if needed, acknowledge my feelings, and validate my story.
– Engage and encourage me, offer me simple choices, and focus on what I can do.
– Communicate clearly, one topic at a time and speak clearly in a warm calm voice.
These tips are based on our new top tips brochure, available from Donna Watt at Alexandra Community House.

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