Alzheimer’s is a subject Laura Wayman knows well. I have had the pleasure of sitting in her seminars and learning about dementia. As California Licensed Professional Fiduciary, I come in contact with clients who are in various stages of dementia and Laura’s classes and book have helped me identify what might be dementia so I can get help for them. I am not an expert just because I have listened to her and read her book (A Loving Approach to Dementia Care) but I have come away with tools that help me in communicating with my clients and it’s those tools that have made my life less stressful and allow me a richer relationship with my clients.
Here a couple of quotes from her work:
“When someone is acting in ways that don’t make sense, we tend to want to carefully explain the situation from our “normal perspective”, calling on his or her sense of appropriateness to achieve more “normal behavior” and compliance. However, dementia-challenged adults are no longer able to access the “boss function” in their brain any longer, so they cannot respond as they did before dementia to discussions, arguments, or customary communication approaches,
no matter how much our reasoning seems like straightforward common sense to us. This simple motto applies well to communication with a person with any form of dementia; “Only tell them what they can handle, and as the dementia progresses, they can handle less and less.”
sited June 23, 2011
“…do not argue with a confused person. Arguing may only escalate and fan the fires of anger, anxiety, paranoia, and fear. If you cannot win the battle, change the war No matter how outlandish the claim or accusation, listen and proceed as though you believe everything the person with dementia is saying. Plan to take action that will give the person with dementia is saying. Plan to take action that will give the person a sense of relief To her, the most frustrating response is for you to argue or try to convince her that the satiation is not real.
Imagine what it would be like if you thought you were being followed home by a strange car one evening, thought you had been receiving odd or threatening phone calls, or thought you saw someone hiding outside your bedroom window. Now imagine that you shared your fears with your family and friends, and that even though you were genuinely scared, they calmly dismissed your anxiety as foolishness. How would this make you feel?”
A Loving Approach to Dementia Care, Making Meaningful connections with the Person Who Has Alzheimer’s Disease or Other Dementia or Memory Loss – Laura Wayman, The John Hopkins University Press, 2011 Pg. 54