Ribbons Turn Around Challenging Shower Experience (Community story)

Community Story

By Karen Hayes from Cessnock Masonic Retirement Village © dementiacareinternational

Karen wrote to tell us that after attending one of our seminars and, armed with the knowledge she gained, purchased a scarf and some rainbow ribbons and then went to work.

Here Karen takes up the story.

It was my turn to shower one of our residents who tends to become aggressive and agitated when we prompt or assist her to go to the toilet or have a shower. This particular morning was no different. During shower time, she became stressed and verbally aggressive.  It was then that I looked down at the rainbow ribbons hanging from my belt, gathered them up in my hand and showed them to the resident.

Her response was one that I could not have imagined.  Immediately she calmed down. I placed the ribbons in her hand and she held them, smiling with such a happy expression. I continued to shower her while she held onto the ribbons, continuously running them through her fingers.

I felt I had made a real breakthrough and accomplished much because I had turned something that I usually saw only as a task into a ritual that made both of us feel loved and respected.