Carers learn communication strategies to support clients with dementia

Carers learn communication strategies to support clients with dementia

Guest speaker Maria Co with NZTC Health and Wellbeing Team Lead Mehak Kapoor NZTC.jpg
Guest speaker Maria Co with NZTC Health and Wellbeing Team Lead Mehak Kapoor

Following the recent launch of New Zealand Tertiary College’s specialist dementia care study options, the college hosted a free professional development evening focused on the topic earlier this week.

Healthcare assistants from across Auckland came together to learn about the latest research and best practices from Dementia Auckland Carer Education Programme Leader Maria Co.

Co encouraged attendees to see the world through the eyes of those living with dementia, recounting a quote from American poet Maya Angelou as she explained the simple yet significant impact carers can have in their clients’ lives.

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel,” said Co.

A former nurse, Co shared her personal experiences with those living with dementia and said she sees it as a “social responsibility” to spread her knowledge with the wider healthcare community.

Attendees were empowered with practical communication strategies such as using visual aids and engaging in light-hearted conversation to avoid causing any unnecessary stress or anxiety in their clients.

Dementia PD evening NZTC.jpg

Co also noted the power of music, sharing a heart-warming video demonstrating the emotional and behavioural benefits that singing or listening to music can bring to the lives of those with dementia.

Attendee Mary Ann Larita was touched by the presentation, which she said related closely to her experiences as a Healthcare Assistant at an Auckland rest home.

“A lot of our residents show signs of dementia so this reminded me of them. Tonight has helped me to understand how we can know if a person has dementia, and how we can better support them,” said Mary Ann.

NZTC will host a further free dementia care professional development evening at the college’s Christchurch Campus on Thursday 12 September. For more information or to register for this event visit www.nztertiarycollege.ac.nz/events.