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Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds Jack’s physical needs have changed over the last few years. Initially, Jack was very mobile. He would enjoy walking in the garden with his wife. He would walk about the care home and was quite independent regarding his diet and having drinks. He did need some prompting with regard to his personal care and continence, which he really struggled with because he was very independent, was a very private man. So at first, he could help with his own personal care. We could ask him to take his clothes off or lift his arms or lift his legs, and he’d understand. And he’d be able to carry out tasks. As his dementia’s progressed, he’s become less able to help and less able to understand.

Skip to 0 minutes and 56 seconds So it’s been more about reassuring him during those tasks. Physically, he used to walk a lot. Like a lot of people with dementia, he went through a stage of probably a lot of pacing up at nights. But for the last, I would say, about probably over two years now, he’s been unable to walk, either. So he’s in a chair or in bed. And I think in the earlier stages, that was quite difficult, I think, in terms of physical comfort. He’s a very tall man. So trying to find ways to be comfortable when you’re not able to move, that’s been quite challenging. But he has a new chair, which I got about six months ago. And that’s made a big difference.

Skip to 1 minute and 40 seconds So he looks more comfortable. He’s sitting in a more comfortable way. And also, because the chair’s able to be moved around, he can be moved from one room to another and the position in the lounge, for example. So he can sit at the table when other people are eating, even if he’s not eating at the table, and able to watch the television. Jack now has– his mobility’s declined. So he’s now in a reclining chair. He did have a lot of anxiety around going in the hoist through personal care. So we then used distraction techniques, such as music and other sensory things, such as hand massages and stuff.

Skip to 2 minutes and 21 seconds And then he started to feel a little bit more comfortable in the hoist when we were doing personal care. So that’s kind of improved. He’s become immobile. He now isn’t able to walk. He’s nursed in a recliner chair. He relies on staff to meet all his self-care needs and his continence needs. And he is still able to eat and drink independently, but he needs full staff supervision with this. Otherwise, he doesn’t suffer from pain or have many infections and is still quite robust in himself.

Jack's story: physical well-being

In the final part of Jack’s story, we look at the physical changes he experienced and how his needs changed as his dementia progressed.

Jack’s daughter, care home staff and a specialist nurse talk about how they responded to meet his changing physical needs.

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This video is from the free online course:

Dementia Care: Living Well as Dementia Progresses

Newcastle University