Suzanne is one of two Carr Gomm dementia interpreters in Argyll & Bute.

She recently undertook training, alongside her colleague Laura, to enhance the support we provide to a number of vulnerable older people in their own homes – with about 60% suffering some form of dementia.

“Dementia Interpreter training is about learning the language of dementia for every individual and translating that for the other people in their lives. People with dementia often don’t communicate as they used to, so we look at their behaviors and interpret those as their way of communicating. Having a better understanding means we can support people in living a better quality of life.”

“This training is quite new, but it’s important as one in three people will live with some sort of dementia in their lifetime. It can be a dreadful thing, but it doesn’t mean you can’t have a good quality of life.”

“If we have an improved understanding, we can find ways to communicate better with the person. This reduces everyone’s stress and ensures we are delivering support correctly, the person feels listened to, and their rights and needs are met.”

Suzanne and Laura will now train other colleagues to be dementia interpreters. All will have access to an online resource, the Dementia Dictionary, which allows people around the world to share learnings and interpretations of behaviours of those with dementia. Suzanne has two of her interpretations in the dictionary already.