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Hearing the Person with Dementia

Person-Centred Approaches to Communication for Families and Caregivers
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Losing the ability to communicate can be a frustrating and difficult experience for people with dementia, their families and carers. As the disease progresses, the person with dementia may find it increasingly difficult to express themselves clearly, and to understand what others say.

Written with both family and professional carers in mind, this book clearly explains what happens to communication as dementia progresses, how this may affect an individual's memory, language and senses, and how carers might need to adapt their approach as a result. Advocating a person-centred approach to dementia care, the author describes methods of verbal and non-verbal communication, techniques for communicating with people who can not speak or move easily, and strategies for communicating more effectively in specific day-to-day situations, including at mealtimes, whilst helping the person with dementia to bathe or dress, and whilst out and about. Exercises at the end of each chapter encourage the carer to reflect on their learning and apply it to their own circumstances, and guidelines for creating a life story with the person with dementia as a means of promoting good communication are also included.

This concise, practical book is essential reading for family caregivers, professional care staff, and all those who work with, or who are training to work with, people with dementia.
  • Published: Jan 15 2011
  • Pages: 112
  • 214 x 136mm
  • ISBN: 9781849051866
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Press Reviews

  • The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy

    Every caregiver for someone aged or living with any form of dementia would benefit from reading McCarthy's book for its practical wisdom. I would also strongly recommend this book as a reference for students in allied health, aged and dementia care training programs. I imagine seeing this book sitting comfortably on a home, study or office coffee table - somewhere is easy reach!
  • metapsychology online reviews

    This book covers many important areas and succeeds in rendering care of the person with dementia in accessible language. The book is not just readable, but usable, so deserves to be readily applied in day to day care.
  • The International Journal of Person Centered Medicine

    This extremely practical book helps people involved in the care of people with dementia who are encouraged to think less about inspection procedures, commissioning and health and safety and to focus on identifying how we fee about the people we care about we are encouraged to get in touch with the emotional needs of people living with dementia. This is no sentimental thesis, but an excellent guide for families and professional caregivers to understand the communication problems which can affect someone with advance dementia. Lots of practical suggestions are included as well as the vital advice on caring for oneself.
  • Community Care

    The fact that exercises and questions are incorporated into each chapter helps to promote the readers' understanding of the material presented by allowing them to reflect on their prior learning and apply this to real-life situations... It is(...) a useful and accessible resource for anyone who work with people with dementia as well as for family caregivers and students.
  • plus (Quarterly Magazine of Christian Council on Ageing)

    Imagination and empathy are commended by McCarthy as key to providing care. He rightly stresses that listening carefully to what we hear is an essential element in communication. We all live in hope that others may listen to what we mean rather than hearing only what we say.
  • Signpost

    This paperback is a further valuable addition to an ever-increasing market of information providing publications, and as such it is an interesting and informative read.
  • Caring Times

    This little book is about communication. It is suitable for staff at all levels, providing sensible guidance for communicating well in the ordinary situations of daily living: showering, mealtimes, dressing, going to the toilet, going out, getting bored and making mistakes.
  • Dementia UK

    Bernie McCarthy is a Clinical Psychologist who works in dementia care in Australia. He has been greatly influenced by Dawn Brooker (now of Worchester), Tom Kitwood and the Bradford Dementia Group. He uses their work and publications to inform his own practices in care and teaching. It is from these that he has put together this modest, readable text which contains many acknowledgements to these original thinkers and sources.
  • Christian Council on Ageing

    McCarthy writes in a warm personal style with a minimum of technical language even when outlining ways in which different areas of the human brain functions in everyday life. Each chapter includes an example of a real life situation someone with dementia might find themselves in and concludes with some questions for the reader to test their grasp of its contents. It is good to see that the final chapter is on the topic of caring for yourself... Imagination and empathy are commended by McCarthy as key to providing care. He rightly stresses that listening carefully to what we hear is an essential element in communication. We all live in hope that others may listen to what we mean rather than hearing only what we say.
  • Caz Thomsen, Capital and Coast District Health Board

    Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work
    This practical book to assist people caring for those with dementia. It covers the brain and its effect on language and behaviour in people with dementia. It talks about person-centred care and the need to be flexible to individual needs rather than apply a "one size fits all" approach... easy to read and practical... I would definitely recommend this book to anyone working in the field of dementia, whether in a paid capacity or as a friend or family member.