Helpful Visits for People with Dementia

Sr. Mary Anne Larocque, CSJ in Canada (R) and Sr. Patricia Kay, OLM

On the 4th and 11th  of May 2017, Our Lady’s Missionaries gathered at Leander house for a presentation on helpful approaches in accompanying and understanding a person who has memory loss.

A photo of an elderly woman referred to in a poem by Sr. Janet Mac Donell, OLM

Sr. Mary Anne’s topical presentation on Dementia began as we listened to a poem written by our own Sr. Maejanet Mac Donell. It expressed how deeply she was inspired by a visit to an old Brazilian woman who welcomed her into her humble one room hut and blessed her in turn for the honour of her visit .

From a wealth of knowledge and experience Sr. Mary Anne led us through an examination of the nature of Dementia and its symptoms. By the use of videos on the subject she helped us gain valuable information about Dementia in general but especially Alzheimers which we have all experienced with our own relatives and companions. Sr. Mary Anne stressed the importance of making our visits as valuable for them as possible. For example she recommended that in our conversations with them we don’t make promises that can’t be fulfilled.  She broke us into groups of three to discuss our own experience with persons with Dementia and we gave feedback on what took place in our groups.

OLM sisters practicing how to have a good visit

When she returned for a second session, Sr. Mary Anne gave another meaningful and helpful presentation with emphasis on the quality of our presence to persons with Dementia. She gave guidelines as to how best to approach them. Again we broke into groups of three to practice the steps she recommended. And we had feedback on the experience.

OLM staff joined us in the workshop

We closed the workshop with a prayer to think of “our own vulnerability as an opportunity to deepen our compassion”. All felt enriched with the input of both sessions and grateful to Sr. Mary Anne for sharing her vast experience and her care for those suffering from Dementia.

– Sr. Patricia Kay, OLM

One Response to “Helpful Visits for People with Dementia”

  1. Jean MacInnis says:

    A very thoughful and helpful idea to include the staff in the presentation as well.

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