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Sunday, 18 December 2016

Tips for helping a person with dementia with a task or activity



Tips for helping a person with dementia with a task or activity
If you spend time with someone with dementia, you can support and encourage them to do whatever they can for themselves, by only offering as much help as they need. This is not always easy - it can be frustrating watching something being done slowly when you could do it quicker and easier yourself. But even if the person is struggling with a task, try to avoid the temptation to take over. If you do, they may lose confidence and withdraw from engaging in activities.

·         If you do need to offer help, try to do things with, rather than for, the person. This will help them feel more involved and show that you are not taking over or questioning their abilities.

·         Focus on what the person can do rather than what they can't.

·         Adjust activities as necessary based on a person's interests and abilities.

·         Their concentration may be affected and they may find it difficult to follow instructions. Try to be patient and allow plenty of time for tasks. Take breaks if necessary.

·         Offer praise, reassurance and encouragement.

·         It is the sense of belonging and involvement that is important, not necessarily the activity itself.

·         Try breaking tasks down into sections. For example, the person may find it easier to continue dressing themselves if you put the clothes out for them in the order that they need to put them on. Or you could pass the next garment to the person, holding it out ready for them to grasp at the right place. You could also encourage them to put their vest on over their head before you straighten it down for them.


·         Even if the person can't complete a full task, carrying out one or two steps of it - particularly the final step - can give them a sense of achievement.

·         Make sure that any reminders or instructions are simple. Use short sentences, with gestures and body language to add meaning.

·         Be tactful. Try to imagine that you are the person receiving help and speak in a way that you would find helpful if you were in their position.

·         Try doing things together, such as going for a walk, folding clothes or drying dishes.

·         Try to make doing things together a part of your daily routine.

·         Non-verbal communication is very important. Try gesturing, demonstrating, or guiding an action. For example, the person may be able to brush their own hair if you hand them the brush and start by gently guiding their hand.
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