Saddleworth Dementia Friends Champion Helen Morris, from Dobcross, shares some thoughts from Japan…
The book ‘Words for a Journey’ (T. Iba & M. Okada) offers more ‘words’ of advice with the ‘Can-Do-List’ and ‘Daily Chore’.
I knew about both before but it’s the way they write which hits the mark completely. In short, no matter how hard you try to live positively with dementia, there are times when you will be sad, depressed and frightened because losing abilities is hard and creates the fear of losing more.
Because the changes can be both small and gradual, your family might not notice them, making you feel they’re not taking your worries seriously. This creates a feeling of isolation on top of being depressed.
The book suggests you start writing a list of all the things you can do and keep filling it out with simple and complex tasks. The list may take many days to complete but as you develop it you should see how much you can do independently and also with support.
The list should stimulate you and encourage you to consider how much you are a positive force in your life and that of others. Your family can take an active part by reminding you of things you do without even thinking.
You can also create your ‘Daily Chore’ from this list, which is a task you perform every day for the family, e.g. watering plants, feeding the dog. As well as ensuring you maintain an active interest in life around you, this will also provide a pace and rhythm to your day.
Meanwhile, here is my progress report on adopting ‘Usual Talk’. I have to tell you it’s a winner! I chatted away to a few of my friends in a local care home and the level of communication was much better. Other people around us were also more stimulated. After all, everyone enjoys a bit of ‘overhearing’ when a tale is being told!
If you would like a Dementia Friends session with your group, contact Helen Morris, Dementia Friends Champion, on 07976 702171.
‘Words for a Journey’ ‘The art of being with dementia’ Takashi Iba and Makoto Okada with Iba Laboratory & Dementia Friendly Japan’ Creative Shift Lab, Inc, Kanagawa, 2015 Printed in Great Britain is available to buy on Amazon.