Treating Older People with Dignity and Respect: Communications with People Living with Dementia

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MENARAH Network has been engaging with practitioners in the Middle East and North Africa who promote the wellbeing of older people and their informal carers. In the interview, we talk to Dr Omaima Madkor, Ain Shams University, Cairo, who explains different approaches she found useful. She discusses the importance of taking a healthy life approach before the onset of health conditions. Omaima promotes the use of visual media as an accessible tool to promote healthy living and person-centred care. She also discusses communication approaches when caring for persons living with dementia.

Dementia is a progressive disease that can occur at different ages; however, its prevalence increases significantly at older ages. As dementia progresses, it affects the person’s memory, among other things, and how they remember and understand some basic facts. Communication style becomes very important when dealing with someone who is living with dementia. Here, it is crucial to consider both body language along with verbal communication. It is important to encourage people living with dementia to communicate and converse with them regularly while acknowledging the challenges they might encounter due to their condition. There is useful information for family and friends when communicating with people living with dementia on the NHS website, here, and on the Alzheimer Society website. Omaima presents some examples specific to the context of the MENA region. She also provide some advice for individuals approaching old age to prioritise their needs including ensuring an active and fulfilling life.

Watch Omaima’s interview, February 2022, Cairo.

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Professor of Health and Social Care Policy, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK

Shereen Hussein is a Professor of Health and Social Care Policy at the Department of Health Services Research and Policy (HSRP) at the LSHTM. She is a Co-Director of the PRUComm policy research unit. She is also an Honorary Professor at the University of Kent and King’s College London in the UK and the University of Southern Queensland in Australia.

Shereen is a demographer with expertise in labour-migration, sociology and economics. Her primary research revolves around ageing, family dynamics, migration and long-term care. Shereen has previously worked with the United Nations, the Population Council, the World Bank, and the League of Arab States. Her current research focuses on ageing demographics, long term care demand and migration within the UK and Europe and the implications on policy and practice.

Shereen has conducted extensive research on population ageing and its impact on long term care and health policy and practices in the UK, internationally and in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. She has contributed to recent United Nations’ policy response to ageing in the region through collaboration with UN-ESCWA and directly providing expert consultations to several countries in the region including Turkey, Oman and Egypt. Shereen leads many large research projects on ageing and long-term care in the UK and contributes to a large project addressing responses to dementia in developing countries STRiDE. Shereen is the founder and lead of the MENARAH network.