Communicating with dementia carers is essential

Recognition: Dementia Action Week 2021 is supporting the great work done by the many Australian carers of people living with dementia. Photo: Shutterstock
Recognition: Dementia Action Week 2021 is supporting the great work done by the many Australian carers of people living with dementia. Photo: Shutterstock

Communication is the key to ensuring a sound carer support system is in place for those living with dementia and their loved ones.

Thomas Henry discovered that talking with his mum Elaine's carers at the nursing home well before he arrived to collect her for an outing meant that she was settled and well prepared for the event.

"The job can be quite challenging, and I found that connecting with her carers was a way of making it easier for all of us to ensure Mum felt safe and cared for," he said.

"Being on the same page meant less disruption for Mum."

Dementia Action Week is September 20 - 26, and this year's focus is on supporting and celebrating carers of people living with dementia.

In Australia, dementia impacts almost half a million people and the number of people living with dementia is set to double in the next 25 years.

There are almost 1.6 million people who are involved in their care.

Elaine has since passed on, but even in an advanced stage of dementia, her family and carers had a system in place where she could comfortably and safely leave the nursing home for the day and even overnight trips.

"The carers came to know what she liked and disliked, any triggers and emotions, and I was able to answer their questions and explain Mum in a way that would help make their job easier," Thomas said.

"I feel that we all worked as a team to care for Mum and to have her best interests at heart."

Dementia Australia developed dementia Action Week in consultation with dementia advocates who have a lived experience of dementia.

The 'A little support makes a big difference' campaign demonstrates that many people living with dementia can continue to live well for many years after their diagnosis.

During Dementia Action Week, Dementia Australia is providing simple and practical tips to:

  • Give a little support to a person living with dementia;
  • Give a little support to a carer, friend or family member of a person living with dementia;
  • Help healthcare professionals make their practice more dementia-friendly.

Dementia Australia aims to educate and empower those living with dementia and the broader community to quash any misconceptions and promote a better understanding of it.

For more information, visit dementia.org.au/dementia-action-week, where there are practical tips and tools to support people impacted by dementia.

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