Posts Tagged With: care

Metaphors and muddles

My blogs are very much straight from the horses mouth ….( strange expression come to think of it !)…

My gosh …. I use loads of strange expressions, sayings, malapropisms…. Don’t we all ?!

So how does this all work out when it comes to communication with people with a dementia I wonder ?

I think it is a fascinating part of our rich world of words!

To be continued …..but I am at the Edinburgh Fringe at the moment …. So off for more words !!! ….

Back live ! ( another expression !)

So – here’s my thoughts on non-literal language use – based on personal experience in communicating with people with various dementias …

Many articles will advise against using metaphor, idiom etc as it is confusing for the listener … But I am not so sure about this . Surely it is more about the WAY in which you communicate more than the specific words. Expressions that have been widely used over the decades certainly seem to trigger response ….. Elbow grease, glad rags, Sunday best, waste not want not, all dressed up and nowhere to go, icing on the cake, …. Daft as a brush ! I agree that newer expressions might not work too well …. Totally wicked !?!

But when I am using the expression I am also using body language, context and facial expression …. So that’s the main part of the communication – non verbal as its called ….

I have certainly listened to metaphor-rich stories or chattering from people with a dementia …. Infact there are many insights to be had from careful listening to meaning behind and beyond the literal …. After all – surely the oft expressed plea ‘I want to go home’ is using the notion of home as ‘safe secure and familiar’ …..

Word finding difficulty is a common problem in some types of dementia – and of course every person remains an individual – and I am only sharing my own experiences …. It is just another way of looking at things perhaps to consider if the less precise and literal WE are in our words the less pressure the LISTENER might feel in attempting to find precise words ….?

I once had a poetry making session with some lovely ladies and gents in a hampshire care home … A total blast ( yet another daft expression !?!) ….
I took a coconut and wooden mixing spoon along as props to trigger of and inspire poetry ! Trust me – it worked ! The objects took on characteristics and relationships … And a story …. Now if that isn’t playing around with non-literal … ?! I will find that poem and post it on here …. Keep looking !




Whose Shoes? A catalyst for change in health and social care

Today I have the honour and the pleasure of hosting a blogpost that gives real insights into the life of someone living with dementia. But surely, I hear you ask, this whole “in my shoes” series is aiming to do this? Well, it is building the big picture of dementia from many different perspectives – all adding huge value – but this is the first blogpost actually written by someone living with dementia – and I hope we will have more.
This is the most important perspective of all.

Norman (or Norrms as he is known) is a rather special person. While others are planning and researching dementia-friendly cities, Norrms and his pals in Torbay are getting on and doing it! Such a practical approach – just walking into public places such as shops and cinemas, talking to them and leaving some leaflets – and then following up to see if they understand…

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Musical Bubbles

‘….good – that’s finished …. Awful music !’

Glad to say that wasn’t said in response to my show ! It was just before the show … When the carer turned off the cd of classical music playing in the lounge! Elderly people must like classical music .. Obviously a daft assumption – but easy trap to fall into !

I am very aware of this issue of ‘musical tastes’ when I put my pieces together … Or play music whilst setting up etc …. Something like ‘ Harry Seacombe ‘ seems reasonably universally acceptable .. Harry Seacombe

Makes you think more generally about individual tastes and assumptions doesn’t it ? Do these disappear in the maelstrom of dementia ? Not from what I have witnessed ! In some ways individual quirks can be highlighted when social niceties and norms are forgotten and inhibitions trampled down !
I like Will Young….. But my man really doesn’t … He likes Nora Jones…. She doesn’t really do it for me …. But we are almost the same age …. See… Obvious really isn’t it ! I like ‘Come Dine with me’ on TV for mindless background …. He likes …Tour de France ….. Er …..

Having said all this however I wonder if there are some songs that spread themselves across all tastes …. I certainly have ‘collective’ switch on songs that I keep discovering through trial and error ….. ‘I’m forever blowing bubbles’ being the latest one I hit upon during a ‘high days and holidays’ reminiscence session last week …. What might it be for my generation I wonder ….. Donny Osmund’s Puppy Love ?!

On subject of music – just spotted this blog which I found thought provoking

…. Mind you … Ever noticed how ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’ gets pretty much all eyes watery !

Vive la difference!



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Cuddly cortex

Take a look at the photo on the 1953 Woman’s Own … Now picture the situation I found myself in the other day …..

There was I – in a lovely Hampshire County Council care home in Gosport – towards the end of a reminiscence piece about the year 1953 …. Residents of mixed stages of dementia ….

I mention the various souvenirs of the coronation and show this magazine around … A lot of ‘ahhhs’ ensue !

Then one lady goes a step further with her response – she wants to ‘hold’ him …. ‘him’ being a 4 year old Prince Charles! But of course it was just a photo of him – not the real thing ! I was really struck by the strong instinctive urge to ‘cuddle’ !

Well – no surprise really – we all like cuddling don’t we !? Infact – the following day I was on the South Bank of the Thames … A city break …. There outside the Tate Modern was a group of assorted lads and lassies all holding little placards saying ‘Free Hugs’ ! Tentatively at first … I took my first freebie … Then relaxing into the idea … Took a further 6 ! Fabulous !

Keep on cuddling ! It’s a life force !


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