In scene 3 of Louise's story you will have uncovered how some of the staff at Laurel's care home feel about interacting more with the residents. Some think it's not a good idea to sit and eat with the residents while other members of staff think it would be a waste of time and is not beneficial to the residents.
It is not difficult to involve staff and residents in shared activities. There are care home where the staff do everyday tasks with residents suffering with dementia such as helping to prepare meals, laying the table and eating together as a social event. All of these are interpreted as meaningful events in that they have meaning for the residents – they are a ‘normal’ part of their life.
Making a connection with people for whom spoken language and shared meaning might be absent is a very difficult thing to do but if you fail to connect in this way with people with dementia, one of the outcomes is disempowerment and deskilling of the person with the condition. The activities do not need an end result: the action is an end in itself and it does not matter if care staff do not understand its significance for the residents.
This podcast or article is part of the Dementia care: Louise's story collection and has been produced to give an account of what dementia care is like for the individual, the family and health and social care professionals.
As an extension of the podcasts, articles and also your own personal experiences, you may like to have your say in our Dementia care discussion forum and hear other users' opinions on the everyday issues that occur with caring for someone with dementia.