Dementia Awareness Month: You Are Not Alone – communicating, socialising and friendships

For a person with dementia, their family and other carers, one of the hardest changes is a sense of isolation. Today’s post is about socialising, friendships and communicating with people with dementia. It includes feedback from people with dementia on what matters to them, and there’s no better source of information!

YouTube: You Are Not Alone, Alzheimer’s Australia

hwdeffectivecommnWebpage: Effective Communication, Alzheimer’s Australia Vic

Losing the ability to communicate can be one of the most frustrating and difficult problems for people with dementia, their families and carers. In these short, helpful videos you will learn some practical communication tips.

communicating-across-dementiaBook: Communicating Across Dementia: How to Talk, Listen, Provide Stimulation and Give Comfort by Stephen Miller (2015)

Information and advice for making vital communication easier and more effective.

If someone close to you has dementia (Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common type) they need your help. You will know that communication has become more difficult and frustrating. This jargon-free book explains why this happens and how you can make important improvements by re-thinking your whole approach. Areas covered include:
– Creating the right conditions for good communication
– Making conversation easier
– Non-verbal communication
– Adaptations to the home
– Finding stimulating activities
– Dealing with difficult situations

Looking after a person with dementia involves many challenges. Good and effective communication can help to make these challenges more manageable and greatly reduce stress levels, both in the person with dementia and in his or her carer.

jdc_julyaug2016Article: Communication skills: emPoWereD Conversations, Sue Bellass, Phil McEvoy and Tracy Williamson, The Journal of Dementia Care, July-August 2016, p.16&18

Ordinary communication between people can be disrupted by dementia, but a new training programme offers a solution.

“Communication is a core aspect of human experience and has a profound effect on the quality of our lives. Being able to express ourselves, and to understand other people, shapes our sense of who we are and how we connect with our social world. The experience of dementia can disrupt interactions between people, potentially leading to frustration, misunderstandings and alienation (Snyder 2006). Here, we will report on a communication training programme designed to overcome some of these difficulties.” (p.16)

Note: should you be interested in this article please request it through our handy form.

Toolkit: Community Café Toolkit, Alzheimer’s Australia Vic

If you like getting involved, setting up a local Community Cafe may be right for you.

The toolkit contains:

  • A manual with instructions on ‘how to’ establish and run a community café in your region; and
  • Tools in the form of checklists, templates and resources to assist you in getting started and to assist in the day-to-day running of your café.

To request your copy of the Community Café Toolkit please click this link and then follow the prompts. If you are in Victoria, Australia please use this link instead.

aja351coverArticle: Facing the times: A young onset dementia support group: FacebookTM style, Denise Craig and Edward Strivens, p.48-53, Australasian Journal on Ageing, Vol. 35, Iss. 1, March 2016

Young onset dementia accounts for up to 1 in 10 dementia diagnoses. Those diagnosed face premature transition into the realm of aged care services and adjustment to an illness of ageing prior to age 65. To help elicit communication of the perceived psychosocial needs of this group, provide a platform to gain peer support and advocate for increased awareness, the Young Onset Dementia Support Group was established on the social networking site, FacebookTM. Followers post comments, read educational or otherwise interesting news feeds, share inspirational quotes and access others living with dementia worldwide. Facebook provides a means of rapid global reach in a way that allows people with dementia to increase their communications and potentially reduce isolation. This paper was authored by the page administrators. We aim to highlight the promising utility of a social network platform just entering its stride amongst health communication initiatives.

Note: should you be interested in this article please request it through our handy form.

when-someone-you-know-has-dementiaBook Chapter: Chapter 5, What Are Friends For? from When someone you know has dementia : practical advice for families and caregivers by June Andrews, 2016

“Dementia presents a particular problem to friends if you are not part of the family. You might not know much about it yourself and the whole idea of it is terrifying. You want to help but you are afraid of being embarrassing or inappropriate and you just don’t know what would make a difference. Reading this chapter will provide guidance what often does make a difference, based on what people with dementia their family caregivers say.” (p.79)

For those living in Victoria

Socialise: Memory Lane Cafes, Alzheimer’s Australia Vicmemory-lane-cafe

The Memory Lane Café program is available for people with dementia and their family members.

The Australian and Victorian governments, under the Home and Community Care Program, have provided  funding for Café Style Support Programs that are offered throughout Victoria.

These cafés provide an opportunity for people with dementia and their family members to enjoy time together with some refreshments and entertainment, in the company of people in a similar situation to themselves.  Alzheimer’s Australia Vic counselling staff and trained volunteers also attend.

For more information, click here.

dam2016publectPublic Lecture: International action on dementia, Dr Ron Petersen, 22 September 2016

Dementia Awareness Month 2016 signature lecture in Melbourne will feature international dementia expert, Dr Ron Peterson (Mayo Clinic, USA). Dr Petersen will share his latest insights and research findings about dementia and the US and global experiences in establishing a national dementia strategy. Dr Petersen is a world leader in the field of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. He is Director of the Mayo Clinic in the U.S. and was also Ronald Reagan’s personal physician and treated the former President of America’s Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr Petersen will discuss:

  • Latest insights and research findings about mild cognitive impairment and dementia
  • The US and global experiences in establishing a national dementia strategy

Who is this lecture for?

The general public, people with dementia, carers, service providers, health and aged care professionals, students, businesses and local government representatives are invited to attend this lecture.

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