This week is Dementia Awareness Week; a time to reflect on the huge numbers of people with this illness who are living in care homes which have nothing to offer their residents beyond the most basic of care. I have visited too many of these sorts of “homes” and been shocked to see elderly residents, suffering from dementia, left to sit in the same chair from morning until night, with no attempt being made to encourage them to join in with any activities. If, indeed, the home offers any, other than a box of crayons and a colouring book.
On one occasion I visited a relative who I found, as usual, sitting alongside a widescreen television, with the sound blaring in her ear. Her chair faced the same way as the television, which meant she could not see the screen – even if she wanted to watch a programme. Happily, she is now in a Care Home with staff who provide companionship, stimulation and kindness. She is surrounded by jigsaw puzzles, duplo and other activities. A “Memory Lane” reminds her of times gone by; appropriate songs are sung and played; visiting musicians entertain and she is treated as a person in her own right. Her medication has been quartered, she speaks again and can weight-bear – all in the space of a month. (more…)