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How Bethanie enriches the lives of those with dementia

The team at Bethanie take a person-centred approach to supporting those with dementia. In knowing the person on a personal level, we can better support the person with dementia to live a quality and fulfilling life.

People with dementia experience a gradual loss of memory and physical abilities which not only has a significant impact on their overall wellbeing but can also be heartbreaking and challenging for family members and primary care providers.

Alzheimer’s WA states that people with dementia may find it “difficult to connect and engage with others and to express themselves,” which can make it hard for staff to get to know those they care for. This is where therapy and specific activities can be useful in helping people with dementia express themselves and connect with staff and loved ones.

The Bethanie therapy team can help people with dementia share important information about themselves with staff through photos, life story boards and care plans. This knowledge helps staff to understand and connect with the person and provide care and activities in a more individualised way.

Family is also a very important part of a resident’s life. They provide a way for residents to both give and receive love. Dementia can be overwhelming for the families of residents. Bethanie’s therapy program is designed to support residents so that their families can see that their loved ones are known by us as a person with their strengths, interests and needs recognised and met by Bethanie.

One activity that Bethanie recommends is for families to create a ‘life book’ for their loved one, which helps us get to know them and provides us with a way to share treasured memories with residents.

The process of creating a ‘life book’ encourages residents to connect with family members to collect the memories and aids communication with staff as they can share the stories and use the pictures to connect with the person. Dementia Australia has stated that this activity “can provide a great deal of pleasure and pride” for the person with dementia as they create and read the book.

According to Alzheimer’s Australia, engaging in activities that are purposeful has many benefits for a person with dementia including supporting their independence, choice and wellbeing.

Here are some meaningful activities to consider that may bring purpose to a person with dementia:

1. Gardening

Gardening is not only enjoyable, it is also a physical activity, which maintains movement, balance and mental stimulation. It is part of important sensory stimulation to improve the overall wellbeing of people with dementia.

2. Re-arranging a photo album

Going through photos in a photo album is part of reminiscence therapy and is a great tool to show someone’s life history or story. It can also help spark recognition of family and friends which may provide a sense of happiness.

3. Music and Art therapies

Listening to music or creating art is a great way for staff or caregivers to not only help bring back positive memories, but also provides an outlet for self-expression.

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