Dementia care – you can’t do it alone
The nursing and care team need the help of family and volunteers, not only for the wellbeing of the person with dementia but also for providing and maintaining a caring environment where work pressures do not become too high.

With the help of family & volunteers we can realize dementia care where the nursing team and the people with dementia are happy, that’s why it is so important to involve the family in the care of their loved one.

The benefits of involving the family in care:
– Reduction of work pressure
– Reduced problem behaviour
– Lighter & Easier care

On this page you can find:
– How to involve the family
– What the family can do
– A flyer for the family

What you need to know
The family is often willing to help, as they know what they can do, and how they must do it.
The family is happy when they can do something during the visit, as most of them experience the visit as long and dull and they often don’t know what to say.

The Chores Story
Every year a care organization held a family day which was attended by very few people, till last year. Last year they changed “Family Day” into “Chores day.” From nearly every resident came family members, even grandchildren and nephews turned up, it was a big upswing.

While doing the chores, such as cleaning, painting, gardening ; there arose a feeling of solidarity between the nursing team and the family. At the end of the day most family members said to the nursing team  “if you need help let me know I am willing to help”.

A Turning point
The Chores Day became a turning point in the relationship with the family. Nowadays the nursing team and the family consulting each other about how they can help each other.

What can the family do?
– Finding & Delivering the needed music – see tool 2
– Find & Collect surrounding beacons – see tool 3
– Provide info about hobbies, habits & preferences etc.
– Participating or setting up activities

The Results:
– Reduction of work pressure for the nursing team
– Happier residents and a happier family
– Family become valuable care helpers

How to realize this?
– Inspire & motivate the family
– Tell them that visits become more pleasant for them
– That they contribute to more wellbeing for their family member
– Make them extended team/project members
– Take them serious, listen to them
– Show them the benefits of their active help

The family can participate or set up activities such as:
– Painting – sculpture- drawing – folding – writing poetry etc…
– Singing – acting – dancing – gardening – baking etc…
– Physical exercising with balloons, conducting, mirroring on music etc…

Big boost
The family participating gives equality feelings and a boost to the self-confidence of the person with dementia. “Look I am singing together with my partner or son in a choir this is great”

No staff
If you want more or other types of activities in your care home but there are no staff to do  it. Discuss it with the family maybe there is a musician, conductor, poet, painter between them who would help you out?

Helping with the meals
If a person cannot eat any more by himself ask the family to visit during meal time.
Offer the family to eat in the Care Home , is cheaper than a part time staff.

The family Flyer
A readymade flyer which can be mailed or print and handed out to the family.
Helping you to activate the family. Here you find the family flyer! Visitor handout
The flyer explains to the family how important their help is and what they can do. Also on the flyer is a user’s guide to how the family can find the right music and the surrounding beacons.

Difficult ?
Don’t know where to start?
No backup from your organisation?
Remember one person can change a nation
Start small even if it is with one resident and one family
Never forget that one little step can turn into very big things
Success and good luck with it
Ignar Rip

Your Fab (help) Ambassador

About the Author:

Colorectal/Stoma Care Nurse for 20 years. Now working as Head of Education Ostomy Dvision Coloplast Ltd. supporting Nurse Specialists demonstrate their value via Apollonursingresource.com . Love photography and have developed AcademyOfFabulousArtStuff.com a not for profit venture which is all about having fun with photography, painting and drawing to raise money for charity.

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