“I am now able to cope a lot better and enjoy activities with my parents”, says daughter
Years after her parents’ diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, Maria Hill was left feeling unsupported and unsure of where to turn to next. She was referred onto our Empowered Conversations course through Age UK Salford and tells us she is now able to cope a lot better.
Hoping to spread the word to other people who may be struggling, Maria shares her experiences with caring and accessing our support. She said: “I think firstly, it was emotional just to realise that there were so many other people like me going through the same thing. Just to talk and share experiences together was quite something.
“I now know so much more about what my parents are trying to tell me, even through things like facial expressions. I have learnt how to use my tone and manner to communicate better with each of them. Mum seems happy and it’s fairly easy to encourage her to do things like eat breakfast. But dad’s dementia changed the way he communicated completely – it was like he was coming from an angry and frustrated place.
“I really didn’t know how to manage that, so the course taught me the differences between the two and how to understand both. It taught me how to connect with them properly again. I really get through to my mum with singing because she always loved music. I put some songs on and it takes her back to a happier time. With my dad, the biggest change was teaching him how to take on roles that mum could no longer do. He loves it when I show him how to cook different dinners and it’s a lovely thing to do together.
“When your relative is given a diagnosis, you are given no training. In a way, it’s a bit like taking a newborn baby home and having no idea how to look after it. People need that training and support to understand what to do and how to cope. Overall, I found the course amazing. I wish I’d have been able to do it all sooner.”
For more information about our communication course click here.