To enable communication and mobility, many different life skills are required as a child develops into an adult. Some skills do not change, such as walking, talking and eating. But other skills, like using a website or even a TV, telephone or radio, need to change and develop frequently to adapt to technology as it evolves with our fast moving culture.

Most of the population can adapt to change and take it in their stride, but for those living with a dementia or the elderly or disabled, change is just one more challenge to face in their daily lives. There are over 650,000 people living with a dementia in the UK, of which 40% are young. It is a condition which affects most families in some way and its increase has caused national and government concern.

The effect dementia has on a person is debilitating and often reduces their skills and confidence, as well as affecting their memories. Restoring their ability to use familiar skills from their lives at home or at work is a simple but effective way of improving a person’s well being.

Bridges Home Care has recently introduced a new way of caring for people with a dementia which involves getting alongside the person and motivating them to use the skills they used to have, such as repairing a car, filing documents or peeling potatoes. These skills,when encouraged, help to relieve the frustration of the condition and to restore an individual’s dignity.

For those with infirmities, disabilities or special needs, joining in an activity brings joy and helps to restore dignity and independence, even if it’s something simple like helping to prepare a meal. Encouraging folk to use their skills is not only a skill itself, but it’s often an important step forward.

Carers can bring the essential reassurance to empower their clients, not just by what they do, but the way that they do it. Their empathy and positive attitude is infectious and mobilising: a critical component in enabling others to live their lives to the full. The carer’s own skills are often called into action too. The home care workers at Bridges offer a diverse range of background skills and experience. On the practical side, skills such as driving another person, meal preparation or organising appointments and medication are all important attributes. More subtle skills are less obvious but also valuable, such as the ability to listen, to speak clearly and to see what needs to be done, without being asked. On the technical side all Bridges Home Care team receive thorough in-house training so that the carers on their visits are equipped to use hoists, wheelchairs or other special equipment with ease.

Skills are for our own way of living and but can also for be used to help others. Let us know how your skills could be put to full use.