If you have met one person with dementia…..

18th Jun 2021 - Written by Katy Westaway

Reading time: 3 minutes

If you have met one person with dementia then you have met one person with dementia. I’m not quite sure who first said this but this sentiment was strengthened and enhanced this week when I attended a wonderful study day led by Brunelcare’s Dementia Care Lead Stuart Wright. Stuart has 18 years of dementia care experience at Brunelcare and firmly puts the expertise into Brunelcare being dementia experts. I attended the training to learn more about how I can support Stuart and help him to reach more people around how person centred dementia care makes a huge difference to people’s lives …. however i came away with so much more ….

Throughout the day Stuart told a story – a story about the brain and its functions but this was not an anatomy and physiology lesson as in that story he wove multiple stories around his experiences of caring for people with dementia. The key themes of kindness, compassion and empathy were entwined in all of Stuarts story-telling

Stuart epitomises the person centred care ethos at Brunelcare – not only the people we care for but also the people we work alongside. He made every person in the room feel worthwhile, valued and listened to and pretty early on (probably within the first 10 minutes) we were all eager to make a difference.

There were too many golden nuggets of information shared throughout the day however two ‘a-ha’ moments really stood out for me:

the first was that we live our lives at 70 miles per hour, hurtling down the motorway whilst the people we care for with dementia live their lives at 20 miles per hour with all of us 70 miles per hour people whizzing about around them, so we need to slow down and move with them, at their speed and work with them at their tempo.
the second was that in order to provide outstanding care for people with dementia we need to be curious as the solution is not always obvious, and in fact the problem is not always obvious , so we need an inherent curiosity and always ask and explore why ?

Both of these moments I will take away and carry with me throughout the rest of my career.

Stuart is undoubtedly the best and most knowledgeable person I have ever heard speak about caring for people with dementia – I have never, in my 25 years of nursing, met anyone with quite so much knowledge around dementia. If I were to ever get dementia I am quite sure that I would want Stuart or someone trained by Stuart looking after me.

As for how I, being a nurse with some blogging and social media skills can support Stuart and his brilliant work …. Watch this space !