‘What is really important to me?’
Vic very much enjoys talking to people. He tells me that this is because ‘I was born in East Ham and people there like talking to people, that’s how we do things. I really enjoy speaking to people. That’s what I enjoy.’
‘What would I like to be able to do?’
Vic likes to be able to talk to people as often as possible. In order to make this possible Vic needs:
- To be visited by people who have time to stop and chat to him;
- To be able to get out of his house to see people;
- To be able to use technology to talk to people who are not there face to face;
- To be well enough and bright enough to engage in conversation;
‘What is helping me to have people to talk to, and what is getting in the way?’
Vic is visited regularly throughout the day by Kath and by his professional carers. Kath spends a lot of social time with Vic, talking to him and engaging him in pass-times that he enjoys. However, the visits from his professional carers used to be quite traditionally focused upon helping him with the physical activities of daily living rather than offering any opportunities for other social activities.
Vic has another daughter who lives quite a long way away and so is not able to visit him as often for practical reasons. Vic used to like to talk to her on the telephone, but this was becoming more difficult for him because of his dementia, and because he also has some hearing impairment. It had become very difficult for Vic to get out of the house because he was no longer able to negotiate the steps outside the front door, even with Kath’s assistance.
Although Vic loves talking to people, sometimes he can be a bit down because of his condition, as sometimes his dementia can make it more challenging and frustrating for him to engage in conversation with others. He is much brighter when prompts and cues that are personally meaningful to him are available to help him to engage in conversation about things that are interesting and important to him. It is also very helpful for Vic when the people he is talking to know him and are therefore able to understand and empathise with these needs.
For many years Vic used to travel regularly to stay for periods of ‘respite care’ at an RAF care home in Lytham St Anne’s. Vic used to enjoy this very much because it allowed him to meet up with comrades from the RAF, and the environment and care offered at the home were very much designed to facilitate and enhance social interactions between the residents. Unfortunately, however, the journey became too much for Vic and he is no longer able to visit the home. He misses his visits and the social opportunities that they used to offer him.
Kath of course knows that Vic is very sociable, and that talking to people is very important to him. At one time Kath was getting worried that Vic did not have enough chances for social interaction with people other than her, and so she set about creating and developing some new opportunities for him.