Learn the language, learn the culture, step into their world!
The idea: Lu, a caregiver and home companion, shares her wisdom and provides an important foundational guideline for all activities with people with dementia: learn the language, learn the culture and step into their world.
My name is Lu. I am a caregiver, mostly in private homes, and have been for eight to nine years. The people I have cared for have dementia, which in these cases, is related to age, Parkinsons and Huntingtons. I provide care and companioning; end of life companioning.
What I have learned about caring for people with dementia is that you have to BE there. Engage; they will teach you how. Empower them! Love them. Hug them. Sing. Laugh. Encourage their stories and remember the stories and tell them back. Help them know that they are treasured and an immensely important part of culture. Find out what they love and do it with them: music, crafts, pouring over photo albums, fingerpaint on plate glass windows, surround them with their pets/ favorite things. And always learn from them. (AND BOB!)
These ideas are directed towards caregivers and "dementians" and activity directors.
I also love the idea of gathering places on the Internet for caregivers, with and/or without their elders--A VOICE to the public and each other, dementia sufferers and not, although perhaps these could be separate sites.