Module 4 - Words and Terms

Video 5 of 17
6 min 7 sec

We need to understand the individual and their life experiences. Too many times we label and assume things that are just dementia behaviours and we need to change this to recognise these are simply forms of communication. There are so many words used to describe different items depending on where you live, your religion or even your ethnicity. Just think about jam in the UK, which in America is jelly.

We need to understand that things may have different meanings or brands. Just think about how many different brands there are for paracetamol. Now, there is Panadol, Calpol and Anadin, all basically the same product, but just have different names. The good dementia interpreter will use services such as advanced care planning tools to find out about the individual, their religion, their needs, their wants and their history of where they lived.

At some point in each person's journey of dementia, they will start to lose certain abilities. Some of the first losses would be mobility, concentration and speech. So what would it be like if you lost your ability to speak, how would it feel? How would you then be able to communicate?

As a healthy brain is impaired with dementia and loses that ability to speak, it will naturally find new ways to communicate even without realising.

Once you understand this, then you are starting to really learn why the language of dementia is so important. There are no strange behaviours with dementia, there is just communication. There are no behavioural issues around dementia, these again are just different forms of communication. We have to recognise and understand this to help a person who has the disease.