It’s a truth that those with mid and late-stage dementia can often appear to be 'vacant', and it is a common misconception that they are becoming an 'empty vessel'. Another common misconception: behaviours that appear at this time—becoming agitated or always wanting to go home, for example—are ‘difficult’ and should be managed.
We contend that, contrary to outward appearances, they are still capable of becoming bored, feeling ignored, and being frustrated, and it’s this that drives many of the instances of ‘difficult’ behaviours. Imagine: They don’t know where they are, they don’t know who you are, and they can’t follow the conversation. Boredom seems inevitable. So think of it this way: behaviours manifest as a result of feelings. Therefore: they are not empty vessels.
They do, however, lack the ability to self-initiate something to alleviate their boredom, leaving them trapped. It’s this that can lead to outbursts, the desire to 'go home' or other ‘difficult behaviours’. They feel ignored, and we think we don’t know how to connect with them anymore.
But if you participate in an activity with them, like singing a familiar song, for example, you may be surprised to find them joining in. Much is written about what is lost in dementia, but barely anything about the abilities that are retained. This is this concept, that not all is lost, that we are focused on.
Initially this was pure instinct, driven by a desire to stay connected with my own father during his advanced Alzheimer’s. But after extensive research it has become clear that this concept was already known to researchers, just not commonly known to a wider audience. Our products are specifically designed to be accessible to those in advanced dementia, taking into account the most common neurological differences they may have. But we have also designed with the intention that you can use our products together, as a bridge for interaction and engagement, to benefit you both.