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Hearing the Person with Dementia: Person-Centred Approaches to Communication for Families and Caregivers

by Bernie McCarthy Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Pub Date:
Pbk 112 pages
AU$28.99 NZ$29.56
Product Status: Not Our Publication - we no longer distribute
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Losing the ability to communicate can be a frustrating and difficult experience for people with dementia, their families and carers. As the illness progresses, the person with dementia may find it increasingly difficult to express themselves clearly, and to understand what others say.

Intended both for family and professional carers, this book clearly explains what happens to the part of the brain the controls communication as dementia progresses, how this may affect an individual's memory, language and senses, and how carers need to adapt their approach as a result. Advocating a person-centred approach to dementia care, the author describes methods of verbal and non-verbal communication, techniques for communicating with people who can no longer speak or move, and strategies for communicating more effectively in specific situations, including at mealtimes, whilst helping the person with dementia to dress, and whilst out and about. Exercises at the end of each chapter encourage the carer to reflect on their learning and apply it to their own circumstances, and guidelines for creating a life story with the person with dementia as a means of promoting good communication are also included.

This concise, practical book is essential reading for family caregivers, professional care staff, and all those who work with, or who are training to work with, people with dementia.

Introduction. 1. Communication. Sometimes it's a struggle. Dementia and the brain. Exercise 1.1. 2. The Person-centred Way - VIPS. VIPS - Value. Exercise 2.1. VIPS - Individual. Exercise 2.2. VIPS - Perspective. Exercise 2.3. VIPS - Social. Exercise 2.4. 3. Components of Communication. Empathy, imagination and defensiveness. Verbal communication. Exercise 3.1. Nonverbal communication. Exercise 3.2. 4. Relating with People who Cannot Speak or Move. Managing our own needs. Exercise 4.1. 5. Specific Situations. In the shower. At mealtimes. Dressing. Going to the toilet. Going out. Getting bored. Making mistakes. Exercise 5.1. 6. Caring About You. When you have reached your limit. Staying away from your limit. Keeping up your social life. Daily routine with space for your needs. Carers get depressed sometimes. What resources do you have? Exercise 6.1. Conclusion. Appendix. Signs of well-being. Signs of ill-being. References. Index.

This book... has a very important focus on a helpful philosophy (person centred care); provides valuanle practical guidelines and insights for family members and professional carers; is a timely reminder that all too often the demands of caregiving can unintentionally depersonalise the individual suffering from dementia.
Judging Panel of the Australasian Journal on Ageing Book Prize
Bernie McCarthy is the founder of McCarthy Psychology Services, and is a registered clinical psychologist with a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology from Melbourne University. He is also a Member of the Australian Psychological Society and the College of Clinical Psychologists. Bernie is a trainer in Dementia Care Mapping and conducts staff training in dementia care and other aspects of psychological wellbeing and culture change in health and aged care throughout Australia.