Julia is 50 years old and has lived in a Consensus supported living service since 2004. Previously, she had lived in local ‘disability’ services for many years and has a history of challenging behaviour. The smaller environment in the service suits Julia and, despite ongoing issues with her behaviour, she has been very happy in the service.
Recently, Julia has had some loss of independence and language skills and cognitive functioning and has received a diagnosis of early onset dementia. She is aware of, and upset by her loss of skills. She has also had some incidents of challenging behaviour as a result. Supported by the autism consultant for Consensus, the staff have worked with Julia on:
- Using visual aids extensively to assist Julia’s memory and organisation skills
- Using relaxation techniques to avoid stress-induced incidents of challenging behaviour
- Teaching Julia to understand and use signing to support her failing language skills
- Discussing Julia’s diagnosis of dementia with her and enabling her to understand the changes she is experiencing
- Using reflective tools (e.g. an emotions journal and critical incident analysis) to support Julia with her difficult emotions
- Increasing Julia’s level of physical activity
- Providing a range of activities that match Julia’s new and changing skills set
The Consensus team works as part of the local multi-agency team to ensure that Julia is provided with the best quality of support. One would anticipate that the point will come where a supported living environment can no longer meet Julia’s needs and the staff team is already exploring alternative support for her with a view to sensitive, planned transition.
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