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

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A new guide with first-hand advice from care workers, family members and dementia specialists in the north east, 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 the north east.

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 the north east, 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 the north east:

  • Armstrong House, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear
  • Cheviot Court, South Shields, Tyne and Wear
  • Church View, Seaham, County Durham
  • Collingwood Court, North Shields, Tyne and Wear
  • Elwick Grange, Hartlepool, Cleveland
  • Grangewood, Houghton-le-Spring, Tyne and Wear
  • Hadrian House, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear
  • Hadrian Park, Stockton, Cleveland
  • Kings Court, Barnard Castle, County Durham
  • Ponteland Manor, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear 
  • Stanley Park, Stanley, County Durham
  • The Willows, Middlesborough, Cleveland
  • Ventress Hall, County Durham
Open to new residents

110 Lobley Hill Road, Gateshead, Tyne & Wear, NE8 4YG

Armstrong House

Armstrong House

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

63 Horsley Hill Square, South Shields, Tyne & Wear, NE34 6RF

Cheviot Court

Cheviot Court

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

Church Lane, Murton, Seaham, County Durham, SR7 9PG

Church View

Church View

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

Front Street, Chirton, North Shields, Tyne & Wear, NE29 0LF

Collingwood Court

Collingwood Court

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

Elwick Road, Hartlepool, County Durham, TS26 9LX

Elwick Grange

Elwick Grange

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

Chester Road, Shiney Row, Houghton-le-Spring, Tyne & Wear, DH4 4RB

Grangewood

Grangewood

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

Garden Street, Blaydon, Gateshead, Tyne & Wear, NE21 4AG

Hadrian House

Hadrian House

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

Marsh House Avenue, Billingham, Cleveland, TS23 3DF

Hadrian Park

Hadrian Park

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

Market Place, 14 Market Place, Barnard Castle, County Durham, DL12 8ND

Kings Court

Kings Court

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

Thornhill Road, Ponteland - Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne & Wear, NE20 9PZ

Ponteland Manor

Ponteland Manor

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

Wear Road, Stanley, County Durham, DH9 6AH

Stanley Park

Stanley 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

Woodside Resource Centre, Cavendish Road, Middlesbrough, Cleveland, TS4 3EB

The Willows

The Willows

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

22-28 Trinity Road, Darlington, County Durham, DL3 7AZ

Ventress Hall

Ventress Hall

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

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