I support a lady on the dementia pathway called Paula.
Paula enjoys making things and spending time with staff.
As Paula progresses along the path we have noticed little changes in her. For example forgetting where the plates are kept, what day it is or when friends last visited. We concentrate on making the here and now happy. Paula is an affectionate and caring person who gets a sense of contentment from giving to others. Paula can also be sensitive to the negative behaviours of others.
As Easter approached Paula was getting excited and talking about making something. Listening to this and thinking about how Paula could create something to be proud of without putting pressure on her, I reflected on what Paula is good at and really enjoys. Having checked in the shops what Easter crafts were about beforehand to avoid unnecessary disappointment, we set off to stock up.
By not overloading Paula with too many choices at once and using some simple sign language, Paula was able to decide on the things she wanted. Paula even came up with the idea of a banner. Often liking to have one to one time crafting, it was lovely to see that when another person asked what Paula was doing, instead of feeling irritated or jealous, Paula asked her to join in. Paula gave her some stickers and shapes and they sat happily together decorating with staff helping out only where needed. The warmth between the two ladies sharing this moment, looking at each other’s work and congratulating each other, was joyful. By observing Paula’s body language and concentration levels, we managed to decorate the eggs but left the threading of them to another day, so as not to lose Paula’s interest or prolonging the session beyond her sense of comfort.
Paula made a banner she was delighted and proud of, to share with everyone in the lounge. It reminded us of just how much we can learn from her about celebrating each moment, giving people the time and space to interact as and when they choose and making people feel special – if only for a moment.
Senior Support Worker