Lent prompt 30: reasonable adjustments to make in workplace for someone with dementia

As people work longer and people can work with dementia, it may just be that to support them adjustments are made in the workplace; below are examples of possible adjustments.

  • Install sound proof or visual to minimise disruption.
  • Clear signage to help navigate round Work place.
  • Flexible working to accommodate symptoms / side effects.
  • Allocate a mentor if dementia causing reduced self confidence or uncertainty.
  • Hold regular meetings to ensure the person with dementia’s needs are being met.
  • Ensure person with dementia are aware of support available for example trade unions, occupational health, phone lines available through health schemes and counselling services.
  • Train staff on dementia awareness whilst ensuring employee’s confidentiality maintained.

Lent Prompt 25a Keeping / making a dementia patient happy

 

  • If ask them what had for breakfast, this may confuse them or they will say they have not had breakfast. Instead talk about something they do know … what anecdotes do they like telling; prompt them or if they are interested in the weather, point to the window and say raining and see if can get them talking about the weather, what is going on outside … If they then say they like splashing around in their Peppa pig wellies as they think they are 4 years old; it does not matter, they are talking about something that has made them happy.
  • If confused and asking for Mum, if tell them mum is dead that will confuse and upset; therefore do not correct them, instead say something like she will be right back to comfort them that there mum is ok.
  • Before you correct someone, pause and ask yourself three ques­tions. Let’s just use one of the toughest examples: wearing the same outfit every single day.

    First question: Does it hurt you physically (not annoy you—we are easily annoyed) that they wear the same outfit every day? If you are answering honestly, the answer is “No.”

    Second question: Does it physically hurt any of the other people living here? “No.” (When you get older you lose your sense of smell.)

    Third question: Does it hurt the person with dementia physically to wear the same outfit every single day? “No.”

    If you answered “No” to these three questions, let it go. It’s difficult enough to get dressed once a day, let alone twice.

    Even if the outfit is dirty or has an odor, does it physically hurt anyone? No. If the outfit is soiled, then yes, now is the time to give them a reason to change clothes: “Company is coming.” “It’s Saturday night.” “Let’s get cleaned up for church.” Simply give them a reason they would understand to get “washed up.”

    Since they have short-term memory loss, do they remember wearing that outfit yesterday? No. Why do they choose that outfit? They like it. It makes them feel good. Allowing this choice means respecting their dignity. Don’t you get to choose what outfit you wear?

     

Lent prompt 25: International Women’s Day: Dementia and UK women

Half a million women in the UK are now living with dementia; this correlated with women living into their 80s. The condition is the leading cause of death in women in the UK.

Women are also more likely to take on unpaid caring roles for other people with dementia and are more than twice as likely as men to provide intensive, 24-hour care.

Lent Prompt 22: Analogy for memory in dementia brain

An analogy for a dementia brain regarding memory problems, is that it is like a wobbly book case. The top books fall first. It is the top where the latest memories are so they are the ones lost.

The part of the brain called the hippocampus is responsible for facts, names, biographies and dates. In a brain affected by dementia the hippocampus is like a flimsy book shelf therefore the information that it is responsible for is affected by the dementia.

The part of the brain called the amygdala is responsible for emotion. In a dementia Brian this remains a sturdy book case. This means a person with dementia may not remember a day out but the happiness remains.

Lent Prompt 18: Inheritance of Dementia

Research is continuing into genetics of dementia. Certain types are more likely to be passed down in genes than others. For example see yesterday’s prompt where Familiar Alzheimer’s disease where offspring of someone with the gene have a 50% chance of developing. Whereas vascular dementia which is caused by damages to blood vessels is more affected by lifestyle factors. Although conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes which can increase risk of dementia can themselves be passed down genetically therefore inheritance of dementia is complex.

Lent Prompt 17: Familiar Alzheimer’s Disease

Familiar Alzheimer’s Disease is rare (affecting a 2-3% of people with dementia). The symptoms begin younger than in other types dementia (earlier than 65). Apparently this was the subject of the film Still Alice. It is an autosomal dominant condion meaning the risk for those with an affected parent is about 50% but those without family history will almost certainly not get this version of dementia.