Put Yourself In Their Place

May 09, 2018

In Louise Paul

I was thrown into becoming a carer as a teenager; my grandad was one of the 90,000 people in Scotland to be diagnosed with a form of dementia which meant he needed full time care. My parents at the time decided to keep him at home, but suddenly he went from being a huge bubbly outgoing personality to becoming withdrawn.

At times he also had spells of anger, frustration, suspicion, and forgiveness; in the end he became reliant on me for all personal care, and as a relative it was devastating to watch his illness deteriorate, losing more of him each day.

I always wondered what he might be feeling and thinking, hearing and seeing, so I made the choice to become a Care Assistant at Almont Court dementia unit later in life. The illness had such a profound effect on me early on in my life that I wanted to help and understand more about people with the same diagnosis.

There are many different types of dementia which affect each individual differently, I work with residents experiencing different stages and that alters my approach with each one.
Dealing with people with the disease as a whole has always given me thought as to how someone feels going through the various stages; what are they thinking and feeling, and how would someone else deal with the disease, even if only for a short time?

My interpretation of how a day in their life may be or could feel is described below;

To look in a mirror and not recognise the person looking back, would you believe with your eyes?

You’re a lot older now you’re hair has turned grey, from what you remember of your parents they looked this way,

You notice more wrinkles all over your face, close your eyes for a second and put yourself in their place,

Sons mistaken for husband’s, daughters mistaken for wives, how difficult it must be for them gradually losing parts of a parent they had all their lives,

Coming from a generation of hard working people who looked after their own, they cared for their partners, their kids and their home,

Everything was kept in order and maintained, until dementia affected all different parts of their brain,

Being woke by a person they perceive as a stranger, some residents are okay, but others can feel their in some sort of danger,

They hit out in fear and scream in your face, how do you think you would feel; put yourself in their place,

Some remember yesterday but have no memories of the years gone by, they have forgotten all the things most would remember, and sometimes family struggle to understand why,

Striped of all their memories they ask what part of their loved one is left behind, and that’s when I explain that our job is to be there, encouraging with things that help to remind,

To have a lifetime of experience and advice you can’t vocalise sitting there going round in your head, but because of your diagnoses you spend most of your time in bed,

I could only imagine not being able to communicate with people all day, how lonely it must be to live life this way,

Spending your time in a room; it’s such a small space, close your eyes for a second and put yourself in their place,

To be seated in a room, and to eat with lots of people you don’t know, some shouting and banging, so you make a fuss because you don’t want to go,

I try to ease the struggles our residents are faced with each day, and I try this in many different ways;

I support, I prompt, I listen, I talk, and if there’s a situation sometimes all it takes is a chat and a walk,

I do activities that help with their cognitive state; I keep track of their fluids, I make sure that they’ve ate,

I play games; from dominoes, connect4, cards, karaoke just to name a few, bingo the ladies like to shout out when they have won; I feel it helps them have a happier day when they have taken
part in some fun,

Each resident’s an individual and it’s crucial you treat them this way, it’s rewarding being a carer and knowing you have helped make a persons life less stressful and difficult each day,

We get told as carers to detach ourselves emotionally, but I’m sorry I struggle with that and I’m sure that can’t just be me,

Some residents we care for in a short period of time and others we care for year after year; regardless of how long we as carers hold each one dear,

So when you enter a room and wake someone and they look at you with a surprise, just take a step back and think for a second, what are they seeing with their eyes?

You pick out something for them to wear and assist them to wash, then you encourage them to put on their clothes and shoes and start tying their lace, they have just been through each step with a face they can’t place; so think about it really if it was you, would you choose to put yourself in their place?

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Kind words from our residents and their families

Baytree Court

Baytree Court is a very relaxed home, pleasant staff and one of the nicest homes I visit, always get a smile. Service users seem happy.

Glenys Newbury - Health Care Community Worker

Almond View Care Home

To all the staff at Almond View - a big thank you for looking after Mum, with such kindness and dedication. Despite living 400 miles away, I always had a good feeling that she was in good hands. When I did visit, the staff without exception, stopped to chat to us even though they were extremely busy. Please accept my heart felt thank you to you all - a real credit to Almond View.

Carol

Bankview Care Home

Thank you for the excellent level of care that my father, Frank Boyle, has received. Bankview demonstrated for us the template for a care home and how it should feel and be run. Friendly, welcoming, excellent care levels, length of time staff remain loyal to the home and above all a clear and comforting atmosphere of great leadership.

Barbara and Jan

Social Work Department

Bankview Day care is welcoming and homely, meeting a wide range of needs with well trained staff and individual care for each client.

Bankview Day Care Centre

Bankview Day Care Centre

I understand why mum loves coming to Bank view Day-care it’s a home from home and the activities offered are excellent

J Campbell

Bankview Day Care Centre

The day care centre has made a huge difference to my life. Best thing I ever done, my week was boring now I have days out and shopping trips and good company.

R Burns

Baytree Court Care Home

We can not thank you enough for all the care, support and attention the staff at Baytree Court have given Marc. The staff have always given their time and support to us on visits which has meant a great deal.

Doreen and Yvonne

Beechwood Care Home

Both mum and I were most impressed with Beechwood and we have decided that is where we would like Dad to come to. You have put both mine and mum's minds at rest knowing that Dad will be looked after.

Thank You

Susan Gibson

K Macdonald in memory of my Aunt Jean

I can't exaggerate the admiration I have for the management and staff of Craigielea. I've never experienced so much patience, coaxing, kindness and care. These people share their lives and emotions, laugh and cry and mourn for the people who entrust themselves to care.

Craigielea Care Home

J Ellis in memory of Steve

The staff talked about my best friend being an inspiration to them, despite his illness It made me change my approach with him, instead of being despondent and sad, I spoke with him the way we had always been with each other. The staff saw him as a person.

Craigielea Care Home

Shelagh Goldie

My uncle, who is a retired GP, recently visited Dad on a trip over from Canada and commented that Craigielea is one of the best places he has ever seen in his experience of elderly care units. Very homely, calm, relaxing and wonderful staff. Keep up the fantastic work you do!

Craigielea

Cranham Court

I am writing to put on record how grateful, I and my family, are for the excellent care George received while in your care. He could not have had more or better care.  Please pass on to your staff our appreciation of their kindness, help and caring attention we all received.

From the greeting at my first visit,  I felt the genuine care and pride in their work shown by your staff.  I cannot praise too highly, all of your caring staff for their dedication. I thank you so much.  

Beryl Ford and Family

Cranham Court

My mother was placed in this home by Queen's Hospital, Romford, on Gold Standard End of Life care. Consequently, she was only there for a short period of six weeks. During that period she was kept safe, warm and clean and was treated kindly with respect. The patience of the nursing/support staff was outstanding. Everyone from Matron, Admin, Cleaning and Laundry staff was caring, considerate and obliging. True professionalism and quality of care. 

Tudy Cannin in memory of Mrs I M Haselgrove

Cranham Court

A lovely home with working professional angels. Cannot recommend this enough. My mother was really looked after and her needs were met. They cared, supported, listened and had empathy. The home has beautiful grounds, rooms lovely warm and cosy and always a welcoming helpful face around.Will always be grateful for everything they all did.

Grandholm Care Home

In all my visits I have been most impressed with the Care and Attention shown by all your staff, who are professional and courteous at all times. We are always welcomed with a friendly smile which makes us feel very much part of the home and being involved

J Barber

Grandholm Care Home

Please accept my sincere congratulations for performance and efficiency of Grandholm Care Home. The home provides a very professional, caring and motivational environment with an abundance of patience and understanding. The home is a credit to your team and one of the best in Aberdeen.

I McCormack

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