Meet People Where they Are Copy

Each participant is unique in their skills, experience, knowledge, and abilities. Their entry point into this program must also be yours. Don’t make assumptions or set expectations in advance, but instead spend some time and careful observation to understand each participant’s starting point, abilities, and needs.

Be aware that each person’s mood or attention may change from day to day, or even during a program. It is important to be aware of and adapt to changes as they occur.

A person with dementia may experience a different connection to ‘where and when’ and this may fluctuate from moment-to-moment. It is important to be sensitive to these changes. For participants in the earlier stages of dementia, a gentle reminder of where they are (in the museum) can be helpful if they have become temporarily confused, but in the later stages it is not always necessary to try to orient them to the present – often it is more comfortable for them if you validate their reality by ‘joining’ them in their place and time.

Be prepared to support, adapt and change plans, conversations and activities to suit (on the fly). Flexibility and sensitivity are essential.