For my community project, I worked alongside others in a care home for dementia patients serving their meals and integrating with them in their lounge areas. From this experience I was able to understand the term dementia. Dementia can be described as the different symptoms that may arise which suggest memory loss in a patient (Alzheimer’s Society, 2019).
This type of work was a very new experience for myself as an individual. Before taken part in this project I had never worked with dementia patients before, however I have had a family member who had dementia therefore I had some basic understandings of how to encounter it.
The variety of forms of dementia really surprised me as I wasn’t aware there was more than 1 type of dementia. Some patients can suffer from day to day loss where they can’t recall what happened the day before or they could have problems with language and therefore can’t process a conversation properly.
When working in the care home, it was very challenging to understand some of the conversations patients were having with me. At some occasions, patients couldn’t finish their conversations because they were unsure of what they were trying to say to me and this was quite heartbreaking as I knew they were trying to ask me something they needed an answer for therefore I had to try and figure out what they were saying.
It was very enjoyable to watch how all the staff within the care home interact with the patients and really made their time there fun and engaging. It was also enjoyable to get to speak to the patients and other professionals and gain more experience in this area of work.
From this experience, I developed an understanding of those in the dementia community. I learned that these people are very fragile within our community and it is our role within the community to assist those with dementia and make sure they have a healthy and safe life throughout their later ages. The project also gave me the opportunity to gain multiple skills such as teamwork, communication and problem solving. Linking to gratitude attributes I was able to be emotionally intelligent around the patients and tried to be understanding of their situation and give them my absolute full attention if and when they were speaking to me.
This amazing opportunity allowed me to link skills that I had gained and transfer them into my teaching studies. These skills could be things like patience and listening for example. These are two very important skills I had further developed within the care home. These skills have taught me that it is crucial that we give pupils time to grasp what is being taught to them and try to be patient even if they may not be able to understand the concept your teaching the first time around. It is also important that we give our pupils our full attention when they have something to ask or to say, this allows pupils to feel like they are being valued and their thoughts and opinions are being heard and taken onboard.
When looking at my community project, I was able to make connections between my project and Sustainable Development. I found that my time at the care home linked with the Diversity section. This is due to the fact that although the majority of the patients had dementia, it was important for me to understand they were all very different and had their own characters ( Queensborough Community College,2019).
My project also linked to another module I have taken this year and that is Inter-professional Working. As I was working with dementia patients, it gave me the opportunity to gather how important it was for the all the patients to be a part of something within the care home. Carers would encourage all patients to get involved in the activities going on in the care home so that they were made to feel included in what was going on around them. This linked to the theme of inclusion from Inter-Professional Working, as it is important in teaching that we ensure everyone feels like they are included and no one is excluded from taking part. It is our role as a student teacher to create plans for teaching to include all pupils and ensuring our level of teaching is adequate for all learning abilities (Andy Thompson,2009).
Overall, this community project has allowed me gain a better understanding of dementia as a whole and how myself as an individual can further help those suffering from dementia. This opportunity has allowed me to gain and further develop skills which I can use within teaching and I look forward to doing so.
Alzheimer’s Society.(2019) What is Dementia? [Online] Available: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/about-dementia/types-dementia/what-dementia [Accessed: 25Th November 2019].
Queensborough Community College. (2019) Definition for Diversity [Online] Available: http://www.qcc.cuny.edu/diversity/definition.html [ Accessed: 22nd November 2019].
Thompson, A. (2009) Why is Inclusion so Important? [Online] Available: https://senmagazine.co.uk/articles/articles/senarticles/why-is-inclusion-so-important [Accessed: 22nd November 2019].