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

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A new guide with first-hand advice from care workers, family members and dementia specialists in East Anglia, 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 28 care homes in East Anglia.

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 28 residential care homes in East Anglia, 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 28 residential care homes in East Anglia:

Cambridgeshire -

  • Hinton Grange, Cambridge
  • Field Lodge, St Ives, Cambridge

Essex -

  • Tall Trees, Colchester, Essex
  • Silversprings, Colchester, Essex
  • Colne View, Halstead, Essex
  • Little Holland Hall, Holland on Sea, Essex
  • Haven Lodge, Clacton on Sea, Essex
  • Manor Lodge, Chelmsford, Essex
  • St Peters Court, Maldon, Essex
  • Cherry Orchard, Dagenham, Essex
  • Heatherbrook, Romford, Essex
  • Meadow Court, Ilford, Essex

Hertfordshire -

  • Chalfont Court, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire

Suffolk –

  • Angel Court, Hadleigh, Suffolk
  • Blyford, Lowerstoft, Suffolk
  • Crabbe Street, Ipswich, Suffolk
  • Glastonbury Court, Bury St Edmonds, Suffolk
  • Hawthorn Drive, Ipswich, Suffolk
  • Ixworth Court, Ixworth, Suffolk
  • Lehmann House, Wickham Market, Suffolk
  • Mills Meadow, Framlingham, Suffolk
  • Place Court, Haverhill, Suffolk
  • Sidegate Lane, Ipswich, Suffolk
  • Stradbroke Court, Lowerstoft, Suffolk
  • Wamil Court, Mildenhall, Suffolk
  • Wade House, Stowmarket, Suffolk
  • The Dell, Beccles, Suffolk
  • Paddock House, Eye, Suffolk
Open to new residents

Dame Mary Walk, Colchester Road, Halstead, Essex, CO9 2FF

Colne View

Colne View

CQC Rating: Good
  • Residential care
  • Dementia care
  • Nursing care
  • Nursing dementia care
  • Respite care
  • End of life care
  • Day club
Open to new residents

London Road, St Ives, Cambridgeshire, PE27 5EX

Field Lodge

Field Lodge

  • Residential care
  • Dementia care
  • Nursing care
  • Nursing dementia care
  • Respite care
  • End of life care
  • Day club
Open to new residents

Reckitts Close, Holland Road, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, CO15 6PG

Haven Lodge

Haven Lodge

CQC Rating: Good
  • Dementia care
  • Nursing care
  • Nursing dementia care
  • Respite care
  • End of life care
  • Residential care
  • Day club
Open to new residents

Manor Road, Chelmsford, Essex, CM2 0EP

Manor Lodge

Manor Lodge

CQC Rating: Outstanding
  • Residential care
  • Dementia care
  • Nursing care
  • Respite care
  • End of life care
  • Nursing dementia care
  • Day club
Open to new residents

Tenpenny Hill, Thorrington, Essex, CO7 8JG

Silversprings

Silversprings

  • Residential care
  • Dementia care
  • Nursing care
  • Respite care
  • End of life care
  • Nursing dementia care
  • Day club
Open to new residents

Oaks Place, Mile End Road, Colchester, Essex, CO4 5XR

Tall Trees

Tall Trees

CQC Rating: Good
  • Dementia care
  • Nursing care
  • Nursing dementia care
  • Respite care
  • End of life care
  • Residential care
  • Day club

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