Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Clients With Dementia

There are wonderful people in this world. Helen is one of them. She posted this lovely piece to our Reflexology Forum. I wanted to share this with you. 
Kevin Kunz
I work with clients who have dementia and live in residential homes -Kevin -I can understand your friend's mum not wanting to be at her "facility". If any of you are considering or currently work with this group I strongly recommend reading "The Simplicity of Dementia" by Huub Buijssen it will really help your understanding of this condition.

I give foot Reflexology by sitting on the floor with their feet on a
pillow on my lap - this is a good height for them and gets over any mobility issues. The non-invasive nature of Reflexology is perfect in this situation and readily accepted and appreciated no matter how chaotic the mind. As soon as you put your hands on their feet they comment on how wonderful it feels. I give a shorter treatment than usual - up to 30 mins. I find it best to leave my "real world" at the door - walk in and accept each individuals version of "reality".

Don't be tempted to impose your real world on them - what does it matter that today is Wednesday and they say it's Friday? Be reassuring and soothing - with your words and touch and you will make a positive difference, hear wonderful stories, feel enriched and probably quite sad - shared institutional living can be brutal for such delicate, confused minds. 

Remember they live in a lonely world of functional touch - mainly washing and dressing. Reflexology gives them one to one caring, soothing, therapeutic touch - welcomed with big smiles, compliments and reminiscing chat. I'll never forget "J" in her final morphine-filled days saying "It feels like true love coming through you to me". I wish sometimes that I could wave a magic wand and create a better environment for them - less medication and TV, more complementary therapies, appropriate mental and physical stimulation and of course more staff....hmmm in my dreams! Thanks yet again Kevin for inspiring us.
Helen (UK)

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