Supporting My Client with Dementia
Hello, my name is Alison and I completed the Helping Hands training in April of this year. After becoming compliant, I was quickly offered a placement in the area of the UK that I had requested. My customer is a lady in her 90’s living with short term memory loss; she has been a widow for twenty four years and both her.
I get up at 7:30 and make myself a cup of tea, take a shower and get dressed. My customer gets up any time between 9am and 10am, and goes to the toilet before coming downstairs. I always greet her at the top of the stairs with a cheery good morning and ask her if she slept well. She is very cheerful and always asks if I slept well too. I then prompt her by asking her if she is hungry, and serve her breakfast at a table overlooking her lovely garden.
The breakfast tray is always laid out in a certain way, as my customer likes to pour her own coffee. She has bran flakes with three prunes, and the prunes have to be cut into three pieces. I never presume that it is okay for me to sit with my customer and eat, so I always ask: “Would you like to eat alone so that you can listen to the radio, or shall I join you?” She always asks me to sit with her so that we can chat, which we both enjoy.
When we chat my customer always asks me the same two questions: “What is the date today?” and “What is the weather forecast?” I always tell her the answer, but within minutes she asks the same questions again. She is aware that she has short term memory loss and will say “Did I just ask you that? I know that my brain is leaving me and there is nothing that I can do.” I always tell her that she can ask me as many times as she wants to, and that I will be there to remind her.
When we have finished breakfast I assist my customer in showering, which involves taking off her slippers and nighty, and putting on her shower cap. I lay her clothes out on the bed in the order that she dresses. I leave her alone to dress, but I am never too far away so that I can listen out for her. After she has dressed, we go out for a short walk to look at the lovely flowers and talk to neighbours. When we get back, we often play scrabble or word games, and I help her to fill in her diary before lunch. I give her little clues about the things that we have done throughout the day, and she will usually remember with prompting.
After lunch, my customer has a nap for two hours and I have my break. I sit in my room, talk to my husband over Skype, and read until 4pm. I then gently wake my customer, tell her the time, and prepare afternoon tea. She loves tea and cake, so her face lights up when I bring in the tea tray! I know that this is her favourite time of the day.
At 9pm my customer likes to watch ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’ on the challenge channel, and does well answering the questions. We sit together and watch television, and I explain the things that she doesn’t understand. Throughout the day I dust and clean the house, and a neighbour takes me shopping every Tuesday. I never leave my customer alone for too long. It is apparent to me that she is an intelligent lady who needs company and conversation in order to remain living happily and independently in her own home.
I have been here for thirteen days now, and haven’t felt lonely. More importantly, my lady hasn’t felt lonely. We go to bed around 11:30pm; both of us shattered, but both of us happy. My customer is safe and well taken care of by me. I am a very proud employee of Helping Hands.
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