Here is “Day 3” in this series of ‘walk in my shoes’ blogposts, looking at dementia from different perspectives. I love Penny’s thoughtful and engaging approach: getting people not just to think about dementia but to feel a little of what it must be like. Just my kind of experiential, brain-friendly training! Lovely to bring in a personal touch too – a great reminder that we are all people with lives and interests – not just “professionals” or “people with dementia”.
My role is quite diverse and I am privileged to meet and work with a wide range of people with dementia, carers and professionals. This short ‘walk in my shoes’ holds a common thread: PASSION for improving dementia care.
Last Wednesday I was at a care home leading a day looking at person centeredness and leadership. Twenty people across the whole team joined the day of interactive discussion and activities. We started by choosing and cutting a piece of ribbon from a selection of colours, any length. Each person was asked to talk about why they chose that colour and length of ribbon. We then discussed power and leadership (the group hadn’t asked why they had been asked to do this and no one refused) and how that can affect the live of a person with dementia for example, low self esteem and feelings of loss and control.
Then, each person, whilst winding the ribbon round one of their fingers, was asked to talk about themselves and what they bring to their role in the care home. Once the ribbon ran out they had to stop. This is more difficult that you think – have a go! Completing an action whilst thinking and ‘doing’ in front of other people is hard. Speaking about yourself is also hard . We can easily behave like this to people with dementia without realising, so the discussion we had about what it felt like to complete this task was very lively. The day continued with further interactive activities to look at environment, communication and daily activity in the home.
(Find out more about Avante Partnership and how they are embedding the Eden Alternative as their philosophy)
The following day I was in London at the Admiral Nurse research group. The group discusses research opportunities that are relevant to Admiral Nursing and reviews currently running projects and pieces of research. It was an interesting morning and there was time for a quick lunch to catch up with nurse colleagues before returning to my desk to edit some documents, and reply to some of the huge amount of emails the Centre deals with each week.
On Friday I was teaching in the University. I had been invited to take this session to talk to post registration students about the risk of falls when a person has dementia. I was delighted to see some of my ‘old’ students who were keen to discuss how practice can be improved in acute general hospitals and community settings. Environmental issues and the understanding of dementia were high on the list.
Saturday and Sunday bought respite from work and some time spent in our large garden. The spring rain has meant everything has grown beautifully green and colourful. This is my favourite time of the year in Kent. We have carpets of bluebells in our woods and leafy walks across the Downs. We even have a few bluebells peeking out of the hedge in our garden. My highlight to the weekend was the very busy Robin who followed me all day on Sunday picking up the bugs I was uncovering as I weeded the flower bed.
Monday came round quickly. Back to the University for the start of the week to facilitate the Kent Admiral Nurse practice development day. This is always a lively and interesting day. We discussed the recently published article: Supporting the friendships of people with dementia. This led to a discussion about loss and communication so we watched Gladys Wilson film by the inspiring Naomi Feil.
A busy and fulfilling few days!
- Alzheimer Scotland: Dementia Awareness Week conference 2012 (agescotland.wordpress.com)