Jakki Whitehead, an experienced care professional, is training to become one of dementia care’s ‘beacons of excellence’ – an Admiral Nurse. This blog follows her journey from day one.
Since I last wrote back in August a lot has happened on the Admiral Nurse front.
In September, I went to the annual Admiral Nurse Forum where all Admiral Nurses and Dementia UK staff get together to look at best practice.
This year it was about the place of art in dementia care for people with dementia and their carers, paid or otherwise. We looked at the use of singing, music, dance, physical activity, poetry, cinema and theatre. All of these are recognised in reducing anxiety and stimulating memory and cognition.
We also discussed the importance of the carer role and looking after the carer
A very moving speaker was Tommy Whitelaw from Dementia Carers’ Voices, who looked after his mum. See Tommy share his experiences on YouTube. He spoke of how he assisted his mum through her journey with dementia and the pain he experienced whilst being with her due to the ignorance around dementia.
Tommy said “When people make decisions about you rather than with you then you are on your own.”
This enabled me to realise how important it is for me to continue to raise the recognition of paid carers for our residents as people with life stories, loves and relationships and using this awareness to honour the individual and their families and both of their emotions and experiences.
To this end I have been discussing developing the dementia champion role within Riversway to help carers to understand this and to help limit this lack of sensitivity through awareness of some of the issues experienced by relatives.
Another message was that singing is a very powerful way of connecting with people with dementia and benefits people physically - heart, lungs, brain, posture, breathing and speech; mentally - new skills, achievements, confidence and improvement in mood; and socially - meeting new people. Anyone can sing even if the tune may be a little unconventional and it does mean that everyone’s voice is heard.
I know from experience that singing can really help benefit residents’ wellbeing. At a recent resident and relative group my manager Jan said “Does anyone have anything else to add?” A resident who had sat quietly throughout said “Well do you know we haven’t done any singing yet!” and launched into Oh I do like to be beside the seaside.
Maybe we should end all of our meetings with a song!
Click HERE to read my 1st blog (May 2016) - My Journey to become an Admiral Nurse
Click HERE to read my 2nd blog (June 2016)- My Admiral Nursing Journey
Click HERE to read my 3rd blog (July 2016) - My Admiral Nursing Journey
Click HERE to read my 4th blog (August 2016) - My Admiral Nursing Journey