Notes for facilitators

This page is for the use only of Memory Cafe Coordinators facilitating Dementia Awareness Training for volunteers. Please use the guidance below to help you provide helpful feedback to your volunteers’ answers to the assessments they have completed.

What is Dementia?

Question 1:

What is the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s disease?

Notes:

The learner should be able to explain that dementia is an umbrella term, and that Alzhemer’s is a type of dementia (or more accurately, a cause of dementia).

Question 2:

Is dementia the same as normal ageing?

Notes:

The learner should be able to say that it is NOT the same as normal ageing. That’s why it’s not always helpful to say “oh I lose my memory sometimes too” – it’s NOT the same at all and can appear to belittle or negate what a person is going through.

Seeing it as ‘normal ageing’ can also discourage people from getting a diagnosis, or seeking support.

Question 3:

Complete the phrase “Once you have met one person with dementia…”

Notes:

The learner should be able to reply “…you have met one person with dementia” – the point being that every single person with dementia is different, and their experience and expression of dementia aid different too.

Memory

Question 1:

How might those of us without dementia experience heavy cognitive load?

Notes:

The learner should be able to list one or more of:

• In a stressful situation
• If we are tired
• If we have are unwell
• If we have a vitamin deficiency

Question 2:

What should you do if someone repeats the same stories?

Notes:

The learner should be able to say something along the lines of “put up with it” – it might drive carers to distraction, but as volunteers our job is to be there to support members.

Question 3:

How might Alexa help someone with their memory?

Notes:

The learner might mention that Alexa can be asked to remind people to do all sorts of things.

Everyday tasks and recognition

Question 1:

Can you think of ways of helping someone who might be struggling to do something?

Notes:

The learner should be able to talk about breaking down a task into small steps, and helping them to do the bits they can still do.

Question 2:

Why can recognition problems be so damaging?

Notes:

The learner should recognise that the fear of not recognising people can cause people to avoid contact with others, which in turn can lead to loneliness and isolation and a spiral of decline.

Question 3:

How might we support people who have recognition problems?

Notes:

The learner should be able to talk about one or more of the following:

• The importance of not insisting that they know you
• The importance of subtly introducing yourself and others, sometimes by merely mentioning someone’s name as part of a conversation
• By wearing a name badge
• By giving someone a memorable experience

Perception

Question 1:

Why is the colour of toilet seat significant?

Notes:

The learner should be able to explain the importance of contrast in providing a ‘target’.

Question 2:

Why can’t Dory go to the cinema?

Notes:

The learner should be able to explain that the design of the floor in the foyer makes it really hard for Dory.

Question 3:

What kind of things might we look out for in our memory cafes that might cause problems for people with perceptual problems?

Notes:

Learners should be able to mention one or more of the following:

• Is the toilet clearly signposted and marked?
• Can people find their way out?
• What are the floors like?
• Is it really noisy or echoey?
• Are there things that might be confusing to someone?

The emotional impact

Question 1:

How can memory cafes support someone with the emotional impact of dementia?

Notes:

What we are looking for here is that the learner is able to talk about the importance of peer support – of being with others who understand a little about dementia and who may be on a similar path.

They might also mention the importance of knowing the person and their carer if they have one, and having a plan for how to respond if someone becomes emotional.

Nothing to do with dementia

Question 1:

If someone is more confused than they were last time you saw them, why might this be?

Notes:

The learner should be able to explain that while this might be because their dementia has worsened it might also be for a number of other reasons, including:

• Other people
• Changes in the environment
• Physical health problems
• Medication
• Loneliness or depression

Question 2:

Why is it important to build trust?

Notes:

The learner should be able to explain that memory cafes are often the place where people with dementia and carers have contact with others. They should feel free and able to open up about their experiences with those whom they trust.

Communication

Question 1:

Can you think of two ways in which people with dementia might have problems expressing themselves?

Notes:

Learners should be able to mention two or more of the following things:

• Problems finding the right word
• People might use descriptive language or metaphor
• People can forget what they are trying to say
• People will sometimes revert to their mother tongue

Question 2:

Explain the importance of shutting up.

Notes:

The learner should be able to explain the importance of giving people the space and time to respond, to talk without interruption.

Different realities

Question 1:

Can you give two examples of ‘reality orientation’?

Notes:

The learner might talk about things like environmental reality orientation (name badges, good signage).

They might also take about interpersonal realty orientation – for example, introducing oneself or others, or other gentle and subtle verbal clues.

Question 2:

How might lying to a person with dementia not always be the solution it might seem?

Notes:

The learner might mention:

• Lying can reinforce delusions, which can be scary for the person and exacerbate the situation

• Lying is, well, lying

• Most crucially it doesn’t usually address the feelings that might be underlying the delusion. Unless they are addressed, the delusion may return again and again

Behaviour. Does it matter?

Question 1:

Can you give an example of behaviour that might be seen as ‘problem behaviour’ which might not actually be a problem?

Notes:

The learner might give examples like:

• Singing or dancing at odd times
• Eating with fingers
• Wearing odd clothing combinations

…it could be all sorts of things. The key thing we are looking for is that the learner is able to reflect: ‘Is the behaviour actually a problem, and if so, for whom’?

Question 2:

Why might someone with dementia think that they are somewhere different from where they really are?

Notes:

The learner should be able to talk about how a person’s problem accessing memories might mean that their frame of reference is different to ours – and this is giving them faulty information about ‘when’ they are as well as ‘where’.