• Question: Someone in my family is from the phillipines and has dementia which was diagnossed late and it is in late stages. What can i do to help her?

    Asked by Danielllll123 to Nadine on 16 Nov 2018.
    • Photo: Nadine Mirza

      Nadine Mirza answered on 16 Nov 2018: last edited 16 Nov 2018 11:19 am

      Thank you so much for your question- I can imagine it can be very difficult to know what is the right or wrong thing to do so it’s good to pursue this knowledge.
      At the late stages there’s unfortunately not much that can be done to improve their brain functioning, however, they are still a person who like anybody has needs that can be fulfilled with the presence of other people and enjoyable things.
      Try speaking with her- even if she cannot respond or it doesn’t seem like she’s comprehending. Research shows that on a base level she may understand bits of what you’re saying or be picking up on other stuff in your voice and just your presence is a social improvement. Try not to speak about them in front of them with other people. If you must discuss their dementia, include them in the conversation, even if they’re not responding. For example, instead of asking a family member, “How is their dementia today?” you should direct your attention at them and say “How is your dementia today?”, even if the family member has to answer. It’s kind of how when we speak to deaf people who have a sign language interpreter- we hear what the interpreter say but we look at the person who is deaf.
      In other ways, activities such as playing music for them or reading to them can stimulate the brain a little- even if this doesn’t show any visible results it is a positive experience for the brain. Sitting and looking at old pictures has also been shown to be very helpful.
      In the end a lot of it is being patient, trying to persevere even if it feels awkward or silent, and remembering that this is still a person who still perceives things- even if we can’t see it.
      I hope this helps!