I was born and educated in Poland. At the age of 20 I came to England to work at the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution nursing home in Surrey as a carer. I had no prior experience of working with people living with dementia.
One of the units of the home was a twelve-person protected ward for people living with advanced dementia. Working for such a prestigious institution, I regularly received training on dementia care, but it was primarily theory based. The only practical advice given was to "remain calm and offer tea", which frustrated me for many years.
A breakthrough in my work and life came 7 years after my first contact with people living with dementia, when I was introduced to the Contented Dementia SPECAL Method. This method explained in an exactly accurate and non-medical way, what goes on in the brain of a person living with dementia, which enabled me to finally understand the reality of life for people living with dementia. The innovative dementia care communication method called SPECAL and its photo-album analogies helped me finally understand what the world of dementia is like for a person living with this condition and what needs to be done to enter their world and better understand it.
This insight was a very deep and shocking experience for me. Suddenly I realized the communication errors that I had unwittingly made for many years, only being aware from my own one perceptive. Now knowing how people perceived the world around them as dementia progresses, I saw many situations from the ward again, but now in a quite different light.
Soon after learning the theories of SPECAL, I was extremely fortunate to become a 24-hour live-in carer to Ann* who had early-onset Alzheimer's disease. Together with her husband Robert* and other members of their family, for two years I practiced a new way of communication, tailored to the needs of Ann. Consequently, we saw an amazing improvement in Ann's health and quality of life and our own. It was apparent from this experience the transformative effect the way we communicate has on people living with dementia. Subsequently I have practiced with other patients and their families, achieving amazing results in improving quality of life for all.
I have been in contact with people suffering from dementia for 15 years, and I now understand what people mean when they say "I want to go home".
It is thanks to my dementia patients that I now understand that “Home Is a Feeling”, not a place. I also know what changes we need to make when communicating with a person with dementia to make them feel at home.
I also understand what I need to do to take care of myself. It is now my passion to take care of myself and support those who care for people living with dementia, giving them the opportunity to also take care of themselves.
I offer a range of support and mentoring services, including:
Mentored online support groups, offering a confidential, non-judgmental, empathetic and sharing space, created by me for those of us who care for people living with dementia. These groups allow carer’s to connect with their personal feelings and emotions, and take care of themselves without leaving their own home
One-on-one live in care - living in the homes of those under my care, I test various, non-pharmacological ways of support people in recovering from the anxiety associated with dementia.
One to one mentoring for care givers. Based on my own lived experience, I will mentor you and your family as you work through the Contented Dementia SPECAL method for yourself, with the objective of achieving an individual care passport for your loved one - including triggers, priority care and health needs. This passport helps bring your loved one home and gives you your freedom back with confidence that your loved one will be well cared for and contented in your absence.
Workshops for carer’s where I teach techniques and skills, including mirroring techniques, empathic listening and practice question less conversation.
11/ 2019 Adult Mental Health First Aider (MHFA England)Oxfordshire MIND Certificate/
11/ 2019 Certificate of Continuing Professional Development Young People living with Dementia Conference in London
11/ 2019 Certificate of Attendance Alzheimer’s Research UK Clinical Conference 2019
05/ 2019 CDP® Certified Dementia Practitioner® International Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners
06/ 2019 Montessori Senior-Montessori Lifestyle® Conference with Dr Cameron Camp in Warsaw
05/ 2019 Montessori Inspired Lifestyle® Centrum Montessori Senior Certificate
04/ 2016 SPECAL® Pro course at Centre of Excellence Contented Dementia Trust, Burford, UK
08/ 2013 NCFE Level 2 Certificate in Principles of Dementia care
11/ 2011 The Good Care Group Training Induction Certificate
04 /2011 Tomorrow Is Another Day RMBI Dementia training
09/ 2009 Edexcel Level 3 NVQ in Health and Social Care (Adults)
05/ 2008 Brighton and Hove Dementia care homes training
05/ 2008 Level 2 NVQ in Health and Social Care
03/ 2007 Common Induction Standards Provided by The Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution
02 /2006 Dementia Awareness on behalf of Shannon Court