#DementiaActionWeek – Thought for the Day – Choices

People living with dementia often become increasingly powerless and just passive receivers of care, rarely being given choices about even the smallest things in a day.  Care can too often be something that is ‘done to’ rather than ‘done with’ someone.

On a Filo day, with our small group sizes, we are able to provide the time and space for people living with dementia to be empowered and to make choices, and, we like to encourage those choices, no matter how small.

On Monday, we talked about a group choosing their weekly menu and how empowering this has proven to be. We find that listening and recognising decisions allows people to feel heard and valued and, importantly, to have ownership of parts of their day. This re-builds confidence and eases the frustration resulting from a loss of control and independence.

Small choices –

Which route shall we take? The main road or the scenic route?

What music would you like to listen to? Frank Sinatra or Pink Floyd?

Which serviettes shall we use? The bold turquoise ones with toucans or the pretty ones with spring flowers?

What would you like to do this afternoon? Make bird boxes or plant up containers?

Which song shall we sing? Blowin’ in the Wind or Streets of London?

Would you like to sit in the garden or go for a short walk around the village?

In the warmer weather, one host likes to ask her clients about the route home and whether they would like to go straight home or go via the seafront and pick up an ice cream. The seafront usually wins and they sit in the car, enjoying their ice creams whilst taking in the superb views. Just by facilitating a small yet significant shift in the power balance yields significant and positive results for our clients. At The Filo Project, we find that the culmination of small choices and decisions made throughout the day leads to people feeling valued, which improves their overall wellbeing and confidence.