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The caregiving community is incredibly diverse, and it seems that most agree that family and professional caregivers deserve extensive support. Did you know there is a specific name for this type of caregiving? Allow me to introduce you to “Dementia-Aware” caregiving.

Dementia caregiving is a world where the normal rules of caregiving don’t apply. Beyond support, caregivers need to learn unique skills so that they can be understanding, motivating and, most importantly, keep those in their care safe and joyful.

To illustrate this, I would like to share a specific situation I witnessed some time ago. While I was at a facility, I saw a resident who was very persistent about leaving. She even went so far as to pack her things, despite the staff showing her that her name was on the door and that she indeed lived there. The more they tried to reason, unsurprisingly, the more agitated they became. People living with dementia symptoms can’t be taught or instructed out of their very real feelings.

Instead, I offered a Dementia-Aware solution to join her in her feelings. By empathizing with her frustration and offering an explanation that the moving truck was delayed, this appeased the resident’s needs at that moment enough for her to calm down. This is just one example of dementia-aware strategies that can positively impact an array of challenging situations that often come up in caregiving. This approach changed everything for both the resident and the staff because her cognitive abilities and limitations were taken into consideration.

Many of those who have gone through my trainings to learn these types of effective strategies have shared that they wished they had known sooner because the approaches they learned made their lives easier, while empowering them to provide even better care for residents, loved ones and clients with all types of causes of dementia symptoms. Wherever you are in your caregiving journey, it’s never too late to take a loving approach to caregiving.

Every community member can benefit from undergoing Dementia-Aware training, whether you are a professional caregiver, first responder, medical professional, community leader or just a local community member who believes that those living with dementia deserve to live happier lives. I am proud to offer both private and team trainings tailored to families, facilities and agencies to do just that. Learn more about training opportunities here or email me at help@laurawayman.com.

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