New dementia guide helps people in Scotland to 'Listen, Talk, Connect' | Care UK

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New dementia guide helps people in Scotland to 'Listen, Talk, Connect'

May 19th 2014

A new guide with first-hand advice from care workers, family members and dementia specialists in Scotland, has been created to help people know how to communicate with a loved one who is living with the condition.   

Ahead of Dementia Awareness Week (18-24 May), ‘Listen, Talk, Connect’ has been put together by those caring for people living with dementia and care workers from Care UK, which has six care homes in Scotland.

The aim of ‘Listen, Talk, Connect’ is to help those who are affected by dementia and want to understand and overcome communication hurdles commonly associated with the emotionally-challenging illness.               

With an estimated one in three people aged over 65 living with dementia and an expected 25 per cent rise in cases by 2021, ‘Listen, Talk, Connect’ provides advice and insight for a growing number of people who may otherwise lose a connection with a loved one living with the condition.

Free copies of ‘Listen Talk Connect’ are available to pick-up from any of Care UK’s six residential care homes in Scotland and the guide is also available to download from the Care UK website www.careuk.com/talk-dementia

Within the guide, contributors share the personal tips and advice they wish they had known when their loved ones were first diagnosed with dementia and there are practical tips on how to keep interactions positive and meaningful.  Central to this guidance is understanding that for someone with dementia, their thoughts, opinions and perceptions, which may be distorted, is the only reality they know.  

Maizie Mears-Owen is head of dementia at Care UK.  Maizie said: “It never gets any less painful and upsetting seeing someone who once was a loving parent, caring husband or affectionate wife lose the connection with their family as their memory travels back in time.     

“As a result, visits become less frequent as people worry about how to talk to someone struggling with the disease and wonder what sort of relationship they will be able to maintain as the illness progresses. 

“People tell us they just don’t know how to start a conversation with someone with dementia.  However, in almost every instance it is still possible to have those longed-for conversations. It just comes down to knowing how.”

Experts explain that it is key to talk about the period that the person with dementia is living in right there and then – whether this is a happy childhood or even the honeymoon period of marriage. More importantly, it is essential to accept the person living with dementia for who they are now, rather than how you may have known them.

Experts also advise never to challenge the person living with dementia, or force them to acknowledge the modern world.  Instead, the guide urges people to understand how effective and therapeutic it can be to walk with them down memory lane.

Families and carers also advise that words form only part of the conversation. Maizie explained: “Listening is key when it comes to communicating with someone living with dementia.  Not feeling listened to or heard can be a source of great anxiety and frustration to us all – and dementia will only amplify this.” 

‘Listen, talk, connect’ advises that by listening and interacting regularly with a loved one, you can help someone to live a fulfilling life despite the disease’s many complex aspects, while at the same time helping to cope emotionally.

Care UK is running a programme of free advice-led dementia sessions at selected care homes across the UK throughout the year, as part of Care UK’s commitment to inform and support those whose lives are affected by dementia.  To find your nearest care home and details of any events visit www.careuk.com

Care UK operates 112 care homes across the UK and has a dedicated team of dementia care specialists.  There are six residential care homes in Scotland:

  • Cairdean House, Colinton, Edinburgh
  • Caledonian Court, Larbert, Falkirk
  • Cathkin House, Nerston, East Kilbride
  • Mowat Court, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire
  • Tor Na Dee, Aberdeen
  • Wellmeadow Lodge, Newton Mearns, Glasgow

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Cairdean House, in Colinton, Edinburgh, provides a wide range of quality care services for older people from residential and nursing care to short-term respite and specialist care for people living with dementia. The home offers the highest standards of care alongside modern, luxurious facilities, including a contemporary coffee shop, hair salon and cinema, but you’ll also discover a homely, welcoming atmosphere with many inviting lounge spaces to relax in.

Cairdean House
185 Redford Road
Colinton
Edinburgh
EH13 9PN

0333 321 0924

  • Dementia care
  • Nursing care
  • Residential care
  • Nursing dementia care
  • Respite care
  • End of life care

Residents at Caledonian Court like to get out and about and the care home’s great location means there is plenty to see and do including trips along the Forth and Clyde Canal and visits to the Highland Show and Edinburgh Tattoo. Their packed activity calendar also includes tea dances, music therapy and bingo nights.

Caledonian Court
Victoria Road
Larbert
Falkirk
FK5 4NA

0333 434 3008

  • Dementia care
  • Nursing care
  • Nursing dementia care
  • Respite care
  • End of life care

Cathkin House is a care home where residents enjoy life to the full. Their busy entertainment programme includes visits from musicians, dancers, comedians and magicians. There are also regular outings to local parks and museums as well as barge trips. And everyone looks forward to the annual Big Day Out which includes a day at the seaside followed by an evening of music and dancing.

Cathkin House
147 Glasgow Road
Nerston
East Kilbride
South Lanarkshire
G74 4PA

0135 588 6762

  • Dementia care
  • Nursing care
  • Nursing dementia care
  • End of life care

Mowat Court is a vibrant home where everyone is encouraged to get involved and take part. Some residents like to help with the cleaning, while others take pleasure in weeding the flower beds, or feeding the chickens in the garden. One resident even helped to build the chicken run! Everyone enjoys getting together for the regular social events including coffee mornings and summer barbeques.

Mowat Court
Kirkton Road
Stonehaven
Aberdeenshire
AB39 2PB

0156 9778 415

  • Dementia care
  • Residential care

Tor-Na-Dee is a lively home where the focus is on staying active. The arts and crafts group make soap to sell at the home’s summer fair, while the gardening club grow tomatoes and peppers in the greenhouse. Friends and family also love to get involved - one relative leads the music group, another accompanies the regular singsongs on the organ, whilst others help out in the garden.

Tor-Na-Dee
North Deeside Road
Milltimber
Aberdeen
Aberdeenshire
AB13 0HR

0122 4968 814

  • Dementia care
  • Nursing care
  • Residential care
  • Respite care
  • End of life care

At Wellmeadow Lodge the focus is on fun, food and entertainment. Popular activities include arts and crafts, board games, armchair aerobics, film nights and theatre trips. Residents also enjoy fine dining on special occasions such as Valentine’s Day and Burns Night when our chef prepares delicious themed meals.

Wellmeadow Lodge
Meadow Way
Newton Mearns
Glasgow
G77 6XJ

0141 5308 914