After caring for her parents who both experienced dementia, Maria Nicol says she found her passion….
Maria now works as a community advisor and educator for Alzheimer’s Northland. Maria spent five and a half years caring for her father Bill who had vascular dementia and Rosa who has Alzheimers and during that time has gathered a wealth of knowledge about helping people to live better with dementia.
In her role at Alzheimers Northland Maria provides one to one support to caregivers, facilitates support groups and hosts education sessions for caregivers and professionals who are in touch with people living with dementia.
Maria said “The experience of looking after my parents, alongside my sister and home support was a massive, steep learning curve at 33-years-old. It’s thanks to mum and dad that I found this passion. I feel like my personal experience means that I understand where carers are coming from, and really help them.”
Maria has found a few core communication techniques that can really help families to cope day to day…
“These few techniques are a good start to helping to reduce pressure in the hom
– Don’t ask direct questions, it’s all about minimising stress and keeping them in their happy place.
– The second rule is don’t contradict them, you won’t win an argument with someone who has dementia.
– Listen to the expert, and that is the person who has dementia. It’s about being in that person’s world no matter how wrong or silly, to keep them in their happy place.”
At Alzheimers Northland we know that with the right support it is possible to live well with dementia. We provide holistic support to families as well as specialist day programmes for people with dementia.