Navigating the Journey: Understanding the Reality of People with Dementia

Navigating the Journey: Understanding the Reality of People with Dementia

Anette Urban is the Memory Care Program Coordinator at The Summit At Plantsville in Connecticut. She has been in the profession for many years, and it hit home as her mother, Birgit, was diagnosed with Dementia in August 2023. She shares her experiences and knowledge with the disease every month, writing about a different topic or subject surrounding memory care and how she is Navigating the Journey.

When it comes to people with dementia, perception is truth. Their reality is shaped by their unique experiences, memories, and cognitive abilities. As a result, their perception of the world around them may differ significantly from our own. It’s essential to understand and respect this concept, as it can greatly impact how we care for and interact with individuals with dementia.

For people with dementia, their perception of reality is not a reflection of our objective truth but rather their subjective experience. This means that what they see, hear, and feel is their reality, regardless of whether it aligns with our own. This can manifest in various ways, such as:

  • Misremembered events or conversations
  • Hallucinations or delusions
  • Difficulty with spatial awareness and navigation
  • Confusion about time and place

It’s crucial to recognize that these perceptions are not intentional or attention-seeking behaviors but rather a result of the cognitive changes associated with dementia. By acknowledging and validating their experiences, we can create a more supportive and inclusive environment.

The concept of “perception is truth” has significant implications for caregivers and healthcare professionals. Rather than correcting or contradicting individuals with dementia, we should aim to understand and adapt to their reality. This might involve:

  • Using empathy and active listening to understand their perspective
  • Avoiding arguments or debates about “facts”
  • Adapting communication styles to meet their needs
  • Creating a personalized and comforting environment

By embracing the idea that perception is truth, we can reduce stress, anxiety, and frustration for both individuals with dementia and their caregivers. We can create a more compassionate and person-centered approach to care, focusing on supporting their unique experiences and needs.

In conclusion, perception is truth for people with dementia. By recognizing and respecting their subjective reality, we can build stronger connections, improve care, and enhance their overall well-being. Let’s work together to create a more inclusive and supportive environment, where every individual’s perception is valued and respected.

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May 21, 2024 A Healthier Approach To Caring