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Jack’s story: emotional well-being

Video case study: Jack's daughter, carers and a specialist nurse talk about how they recognise and support his changing emotional needs

![Emotional wel
I think over the last couple of years, as a family, we’ve worked with the care home, the care home staff, to look at things that make a difference to my dad and also that that’s changed over that time. So maybe a couple of years ago, there were some more issues around safety, when my dad was more mobile. So he used to be more in his own room. But then we realised that actually, he was missing out then on some of the company that he had with other residents in the lounge. And he really responds well to that. So even if he’s no longer able to communicate verbally, he still gets an awful lot out of sharing company with other residents.
I knew Jack liked music, but I didn’t know to the extent. I mean, he was in the church choir. I didn’t know he liked country music, which he does. Again, he’s got a sensory mitt that we make sure we have a table at the side, with his chocolates and the sensory mitt. And just making sure we engage with him, like facial expressions– make sure you’re smiling when you’re coming up close to him. And then also, remember the environment he’s in.
Sometimes, when it gets loud, Jack can become really anxious and frustrated. And he starts banging. So we can recognise this and kind of take him out of the situation or distract him. From his facial expression, we still know when he’s happy. We know when he’s not comfortable. And his family have a really good understanding of his level of engagement. Emotionally, again, really from his verbal and nonverbal communication and his posture, we’re able to tell how well we’re meeting his needs and able to support him.
Using the comfort care plan that I developed with the care staff gave me an opportunity to share with the family the interventions that were in place already to meet her dad’s needs and to share what was being done on often really small levels. So it would be the fact that her dad loved chocolate, the fact that her dad now functioned at a level that was quite sensory, which meant he got pleasure from somebody sitting, holding his hand. He used to tap the table. And that could either signify being agitated, but it could also signify that he was beating the rhythm out of music that he could hear.
And the staff knew him so well that I was able to reflect that to the daughter, which I think gave the family reassurance that the staff did know their dad well. I think in the earlier stages of dementia, it was probably hardest, hardest maybe for him and also maybe for the family, too, because it’s hard when somebody is more aware of the difficulties that they’re experiencing. And there’s certainly more frustration. And I think probably looking back, there was a period of some depression, which was going alongside as the illness was progressing. I think now, it is harder to gauge. But I think he seems calmer. I don’t think he’s as agitated as he used to be.
And I think that’s partly as a result of some of the changes that have been put in place.
In the second part of Jack’s story, we look at how his emotional needs have changed and hear about his current needs.
Jack’s daughter, carers and a nurse specialist talk about how they help him to feel calm and relaxed as dementia has progressed and his emotional needs have changed.
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Dementia Care: Living Well as Dementia Progresses

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