Helena: Day in the Life of a Caseworker
I recently met a new beneficiary for our first appointment. The gentleman asked me if we could go to Grangetown, where he was born, and then to Penarth Pier. Although this gentleman struggled with his short-term memory he was able to direct me accurately to the house he was born in, in 1934! This shows how powerful long-term memory can be in a person living with dementia.
We call the people we support through our project ‘beneficiaries’ – because they benefit from our support. I have just recently started as a caseworker for the DIAL project but I can already see the impact on individuals with dementia and those who care for them.
This gentleman was so grateful that I was able to take him to these places and said it was the best day of his life for a long time. He was so excited for the next time and requested more places he’d like to visit with me. Knowing that he had had a great day makes the job so rewarding and really highlights the need for more services like DIAL.
“A simple outing for a cup of coffee really can make the world of difference to an individual who is isolated and confused about the future with a diagnosis of dementia.”
After a person has been assessed as eligible for help from the DIAL project, I see them on a weekly basis for a couple of hours with the aim of achieving their goals.
“I think the reason why the DIAL project is successful is because it is tailored around each individual rather than the diagnosis. The word ‘dementia’ in itself is an umbrella term for progressive deterioration so how can we assume all individuals will have the same symptoms and challenges?”
Understanding the individual personally is the best way to identify their strengths and things they may need more support with. I would like to see this person-centred approach to dementia adopted throughout the UK.
I’m looking forward to establishing relationships with all of my beneficiaries and supporting them to attain their goals – no matter how big or small!