Run by Alzheimer’s WA, the Dementia Champions program assists staff in gaining knowledge, skills, information and materials to support the development of a person-centred approach in community services for people living with dementia.
For Jen, being a Dementia Champion highlights the importance of understanding the impacts of dementia on both the individual and their family.
“A Dementia Champion is someone who is trying to make life better for people with dementia,” Jen said.
“It’s about trying to make support workers and their families aware of how to help them, how to talk to them and how to listen to them.”
Joining MercyCare as a support worker five years ago, Jen has provided community, social and home support to several clients living with dementia and knows how much the little things count.
She recalls how her clients have benefited from a life story booklet, which provides support workers with an insight into the person’s backstory, hobbies and favourite pastimes, as well as their likes and dislikes.
“The Consumer that we’re doing a life story with really enjoys talking about her past and has some wonderful stories, my support workers know when they arrive, she will usually ask them why they’re there,” Jen said.
“Once the support workers start asking about her past experiences she is generally at ease and enjoys their company and the time they spend together, whether in the garden or at the local cafe having a coffee. This consumer actually writes more information for the support worker in between her visits.”
“We’ve also seen another consumer benefit from the life stories, it has been really good for her and her husband’s relationship, she has Alzheimer’s, but her husband’s memory is great, and you can see how much joy he also gets from reminiscing with his wife.”
“So, when our support workers are going in and asking about the past, he’s getting a lot out of it as well.”
Jen said the life story books are also beneficial for the client’s family members.
“It’s good for the consumer who lives with dementia, but it’s also good for their family as well and to see how it’s benefited the dynamics of their family, that is really rewarding,” she said.
MercyCare provides personalised and meaningful dementia support both in the home and at our community centres.
For more information, visit our Home Care page here.