How to be dementia friendly at work

Since the 10thof May there is a new campaign in the Netherlands. It is called “ dementia friendly at work” and in this campaign people that face clients with dementia are being asked to expand their knowledge about how to get along with people with dementia. To be able to do this, 11 free online training sessions have been made for specific work areas. It is important to have insight in how to respond to people with dementia, because in the next 20 years the number of people with dementia will double and the working population will decline. Less workers will therefore face more people with dementia. 

Research shows that the service towards people with dementia leaves a lot to be desired. Almost 60% of the work areas that were being researched are below par when it comes to the service towards people with dementia, according to 352 caregivers. Especially the staff members of communities, banks and customer service by telephone can increase their skills on this matter. Hairdressers, pedicure specialists and homecare workers are scoring way better, they react in a good way on people with dementia, overall. 

In this article we tell you what you can do to make the lives of people with dementia a bit easier. These tips are general and therefore can be used in all work areas.

# Talk in short sentences

It is important that when you talk to someone with dementia you use only one message in a sentence and also ask one question at a time. Then wait a moment for a response. In this way, people with dementia have enough time to answer and they can respond in a better way.

# Show people their value

It is important that you value people with dementia. As a result, they will still feel part of the society. Take them seriously and show interest and commitment to their lives.

# Attract attention when you want to say something

If you want to ask or say something to the person with dementia, it is important to make eye contact with this person. It can also help, for example, to put an arm on someone’s shoulder. It is especially important not to make quick and unexpected movements. People with dementia find this difficult and can experience this as scary.

# Be open

It is important to be open to the opinion of the person with dementia. Ask “do you mind if …” before you act. This reassures the person with dementia and in this way you leave the person with dementia in control.

# Give compliments!

Someone may have the feeling of being able to do something (still) if you give him / her a compliment. The self-esteem can therefore grow a lot! Correct the person with dementia as little as possible.

# Don’t ask too much about facts and events

People with dementia find it difficult to tell extensively about what they have experienced in a day. Ask questions like “How was your day?” And “Have you had a pleasant day?” They can answer these questions clearly and briefly.

 

All these tips are about what you can do to help and assist the person with dementia. But what should you not do?

  • Do not try to correct or contradict too much. With this you put the focus on what they can’t do or know.
  • Do not talk too loudly or too quickly. Don’t whisper either. Make sure you talk calmly and are clearly understood.
  • Do not behave happier than you feel. Someone with dementia will immediately notice that you are not really happy.
  • Don’t ask too much from someone with dementia. For example, don’t let him list all the names of the family. View step by step what works and what doesn’t.

These are some tips that can generally be used to make a person with dementia feel good and to assist them in their daily life. Are you curious about more tips and tricks and are you curious about what else there is to learn? Then do one of the free online tests on www.samendementievriendelijk.nl. It takes a maximum of 15 minutes, but you and your customers / visitors get so much in return! It is in Dutch, but translating it is not that hard!

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