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

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A new guide with first-hand advice from care workers, family members and dementia specialists in London, 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 13 care homes in London and Greater London.

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 13 residential care homes in London and Greater London, 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 13 residential care homes in London and Greater London:

  • Addlington Heights, Croydon
  • Elizabeth Lodge, Enfield
  • Ellesmere House, Chelsea
  • Elmstead House, Hendon
  • Farm Lane, Fulham
  • Forrester Court, Paddington
  • Highbury New Park, Islington
  • Honeysuckle House, Palmers Green
  • Lennox House, Islington
  • Muriel Street, London
  • St. Vincent’s House, Hammersmith
  • Heavers Court, Croydon
  • Langley Oaks, South Croydon
Open to new residents

1 Milne Park West, New Addington, Croydon, Greater London, CR0 0DN

Addington Heights

Addington Heights

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

69 Pennington Drive, Winchmore Hill, Enfield, Greater London, N21 1TG

Elizabeth Lodge

Elizabeth Lodge

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

9 Nightingale Place, Chelsea, London, SW10 9NG

Ellesmere House

Ellesmere House

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

171 Park Road, Hendon, Greater London, NW4 3TH

Elmstead House

Elmstead House

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

25 Farm Lane, Fulham, London, SW6 1PX

Farm Lane

Farm Lane

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

Cirencester Street, Off Harrow Road, Paddington, London, W2 5SR

Forrester Court

Forrester Court

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

122-124 Selhurst Road, Croydon, Greater London, SE25 6LL

Heavers Court

Heavers Court

CQC Rating: Good
  • Residential care
  • Dementia care
  • Nursing care
  • Respite care
  • End of life care
  • Nursing dementia care
  • Day club
No vacancies currently

127 Highbury New Park, Islington, London, N5 2DS

Highbury New Park

Highbury New Park

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

2 Langley Oaks Avenue, South Croydon, Greater London, CR2 8DH

Langley Oaks

Langley Oaks

CQC Rating: Good
  • Residential care
  • Dementia care
  • Respite care
  • Nursing care
  • Nursing dementia care
  • End of life care
  • Day club
No vacancies currently

75 Durham Road, Islington, London, N7 7DS

Lennox House

Lennox House

  • Residential care
  • Dementia care
  • Nursing care
  • Nursing dementia care
  • Respite care
  • End of life care
  • Day club
No vacancies currently

37 Muriel Street, Islington, London, N1 0TH

Muriel Street

Muriel Street

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

49 Queen Caroline Street, Hammersmith, London, W6 9QH

St Vincent's House

St Vincent's House

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

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