Communicating with people who have dementia



some of my recent research has focused on communication with people with dementia and a broader interest in people with dementia is well being people often think of cognitive and memory impairments with dementia but word finding difficulties and ultimately perhaps not being able to communicate at all verbally is something that really taxes people with dementia and their families and their formal carers and so if we look at how people interact with each other there's opportunities to maximize people's social inclusion and the quality of life and ultimately their well-being so for example if we study how people interact with each other we can actually focus on people's strengths and the positive aspects of how they engage in the social world ironically when speaking to carers the challenges that they outlined were in connection with the health and social care system how to navigate what they viewed as a maze rather than actually interacting with the person with dementia themselves when I looked at Medical interaction and specifically diagnostic delivery one of the things that I found was actually you don't need necessarily to use the words Alzheimer's or dementia for a diagnosis to be communicated and understood by people with dementia and families I analyzed newspaper reporting around dementia and Alzheimer's and also looked at how karas talked about what they thought about media representation of dementia and really I found one key discourse which involved two parts one was a kind of a Blaine discourse so the idea that dementia is a tsunami it's worse than death on the flip side of that and this is a new phenomena was a big emphasis on health and individual lifestyle behaviors that can stave off the conditions so take a walk to keep dementia at bay would be a good example the risk of these kinds of messages around individual responsibility for health in this context is that it can very easily flip over into being culpable and being blamed for condition that's ultimately untreatable and incurable at the moment

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