Nicky’s top 10 tips

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Nicky’s top 10 tips

for caring for someone, either family or friend, who is living with Dementia.

  1. Maintain your sense of humour. Use humour whenever possible, though not at the person’s expense. People with dementia tend to retain their social skills and are usually delighted to laugh along with you.
  2. Communication is key. Listen with your ears, eyes and heart.
  3. When the going gets tough, distract and redirect. Eg You might say, “I see you’re feeling sad – I’m sorry you’re upset. Let’s go get something to eat.”
  4. Respond with affection and reassurance.
  5. Ask simple, answerable questions. Ask one question at a time; those with yes or no answers work best. Refrain from asking open-ended questions or giving too many choices.
  6. Avoid asking questions that rely on short-term memory, such as asking the person what they had for lunch. Instead, try asking general questions about the person’s distant past – this information is more likely to be retained.
  7. Break down activities into a series of steps. This makes many tasks much more manageable. You can encourage your loved one to do what they can, gently remind them of steps they tend to forget, and assist with steps they’re no longer able to accomplish on their own.
  8. Caring for yourself is one of the most important – and one of the most often forgotten – things you can do as a caregiver. Only when we first help ourselves can we effectively help others. When your needs are taken care of, the person you care for will benefit too. Take time out for yourself. This includes getting enough rest and sleep, good nutrition and regular exercise.
  9. When offers of help are made – accept these offers of help from friends and family. Having a break for an hour or two each week could be enough to assist you to maintain your caring role for that much longer.
  10. Gather as much information from health professionals about dementia and the diagnosis of the person you are caring for. Each person’s dementia diagnosis and symptoms are very specific and as unique as that person is.

Jubilee Community Care can assist you to register yourself and the older person you are caring for with My Aged Care so that you can access government subsidised care. This will assist you to arrange for more formal supports for both you and your loved one such as In Home Respite Care for a few hours per week or you may prefer for your family member to attend a Dementia specific Day Respite Centre and Activities program.

Nicky Panagopoulos is a Registered Nurse and Jubilee Community Care’s Client Support Manager. Call 07 3871 3220 to speak to Nicky.

Living with Dementia

by Volunteer Lauren

Last month was the launch of the Living with Dementia Support & Information Sessions. The first meeting was at the Toowong Bowls Club and it was a full house with guests of all ages and varying experiences with dementia, as well as representatives from Jubilee Community Care and Ozcare. Pictured below are some of the attendees – from left to right: Shilpi, Lorraine, Mary Ann, Catherine, Ann, Ric, Ann and Karyn.

Catherine and Shilpi, our dementia experts, kicked things off with an in-depth explanation of dementia and the potentially different journeys those living with it might experience. Dementia is the umbrella term to describe over 100 diseases and symptoms with 60 to 80% of diagnosed cases being Alzheimer’s. It is a collection of symptoms explained our dementia experts. They showed the group pictures of a healthy brain versus a brain affected by dementia, which was shrunken and had holes in it. They went on to explain that the symptoms depend on what part of the brain has been affected as can the length from diagnosis through to the passing away of the person affected can vary greatly. It was a great opportunity for guests to share their personal stories of diagnoses of dementia and to get answers to some of their questions. The information session finished off with some practical information on the support available to those living with dementia. Over morning tea, there were some great conversations between guests living with dementia, carers and our team. The whole morning gave guests a chance to talk in a supportive environment about something that can be very personal.

It was a great start to the series of sessions, which will be running bi-monthly throughout the year. The next meeting will centre around ways to manage some of the communication challenges that can be part of living with dementia.

Next free session is Tuesday, April 4 from 10am to noon at Toowong Bowls Club.

Letter from Ron

Vicki, this was one of the excursions of the year – from my point of view! I had no idea of what it was or where it was, but to listen to the history and see some of the sites (and the photographs) really excited me. It was then topped up with the best morning tea/ coffee followed up by a magnificent sandwich lunch (again with coffee) – I was blown away by the value!!! I don’t know how you do it – but please keep on doing it. Thanks again for updating my history of Brisbane and aviation -and for the best morning tea and sandwiches for lunch we’ve ever had. If it’s ever repeated, I’m in just for morning coffee/lunch sandwiches and coffee! Cheers, Ron.

Thank you to Trade Coast Central Heritage Park and the Cafe for hosting us and to Ron for his kind words about this trip.

In Vicki’s words “I love the Jubilee Wanderers, they’re just so full of life and vitality. I thoroughly enjoy organising all the activities and I couldn’t do it without my side kick Chris and my team of volunteers or as I call them ‘my angels’!”

If you or your loved one would like to join one of our activities, please give Vicki a call on 07 3871 3220.