“Often for people with dementia assumptions are made about what their might be based on what we’ve read. It might be valid for one person but who’s to say that’s the same for everyone. This is the problem, as soon as someone is diagnosed with something they become a set of symptoms not a person.
Memory Bridge involved a lot of self-reflection. It’s learning to sit with the things that make you uncomfortable in the presence of people with dementia. It’s about connecting with the person, and not treating them any differently.
People are my favourite thing about working at the hospice
So in my experience: I was with a woman who I wouldn’t really know had dementia. We talked about her working life for example; then it dawned on me that we were talking like it was the present. She told me the thing she loved most about work was the people. People are my favourite thing about working at the hospice too. So we had a connection. Another gentleman, John; we chatted about his family life but at times neither of us had lots to say but it was still about being with somebody. I told him he had amazing eyes, kind and curious. He had a little tear. I offered my hand to him to him to hold – he wasn’t talking to me but he squeezed my hand. It’s just about being there in that moment.
Memory Bridge training was really transformative for everyone in our group. Everyone shared personal stories and insights. I have a new confidence to connect with people, however they communicate. It makes me feel great as well as seeing a shift the other person.”