Module 2 - Communication

Video 3 of 17
4 min 53 sec
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Communication is at the heart of everything we do, and we use it constantly without even realising. Our clothes or cars or homes or hairstyles, even the tattoos on our arms tell something about us, our body is constantly talking to us. We don't realise it, and in many ways, it's out of our control.

If you think about the last time you sneezed and had a runny nose, what was your body telling you? Now, there could be more than one answer to this question. However, obvious ones would be allergies, dust and maybe the common cold. You could go on, but you don't need to.

This is your body telling you there is a problem. You don't know which problem it is, so your body then talks to you again. You now have itchy, runny and watery eyes, maybe even a loss of smell and a headache, so your body is again giving you more information to help you translate what's wrong. You could then think about the time of the year, pollen count, maybe other symptoms. This eventually gives you the answer, and in this case, perhaps you have come to the conclusion that its hay fever. Your body has spoken, you have listened and eventually, you have translated. If you can not work out from the symptoms exactly what's wrong, you would investigate further until you have the answer.

Doctors are actually interpreters, they look at what your body is telling them, investigate further, and eventually the diagnosis would be the translation. Dementia interpreting is basically the same, except instead of translating symptoms, you are translating other people's behaviours, actions, noises, and so on to tell us what they are saying. There are so many examples of us communicating in literally everything we do.

Everything you wear, everything you eat and everything you do in your life, tell someone something about you. And most of you will do this without ever thinking about it. We constantly communicate without saying a word, and this doesn't change for someone with dementia. They may use non-verbal communication to speak, and they will continually observe body language through their subconscious understanding.

So being a dementia interpreter is being able to recognise what is being communicated and then using certain tools to make successful communication. Now, when talking to a person who has dementia, the most important thing and the greatest tool you have is the reflection in the mirror. And the goal of being a dementia interpreter is to make this a natural recognition, a positive part of communication.