Could family members and people living with dementia go from drama related to illness to living life with dignity beyond diagnosis? Yes!
A new Italian, innovative and revolutionary model is spreading throughout the country: the Sente-Mente® Project.
Thanks to this project created by Letizia Espanoli, trainer in the social health field, and to the Felicitatori, students trained in the Sente-Mente® model, a new culture is spreading on the theme of Dementia.
People who live with this disease feel the emotions and reflect those of the people close to them. Thanks to recent scientific studies we can say that nothing can ever take away from any human being the ability to get excited.
It is therefore necessary to train to “feel” understood as an opportunity to move from a state of impotence and frustration to a state of self-efficacy. Through the development of emotional intelligence in family members and people who take care of those who live with dementia, new openings to possibilities open up.
We must live the relationship of care with new eyes, to grasp the essence of the person and not the sum of symptoms related to the disease.
Families often require help to relieve themselves of the burden of hardships and difficulties.
One of the pillars on which the Sente-Mente® is based is Positive Psychology.
According to the greatest representative of this science, Martin Seligman, it is possible through targeted training, to develop one’s potential.
Using the tools of positive psychology in the relationship of care, we can also have a new awareness to face the events. Every person should not consider himself passive and at the mercy of events and emotions, but he can choose to train his potential with responsibility.
Despite the diagnosis, one can shift the focus on what makes life deserving to be lived.
No extraordinary events are added, but the beauty that is always present is unmoved, unfortunately often covered by the veil of worries.
FEEL YOUR EMOTIONS AND REFLECT
Through the numerous tools of Positive Psychology people are trained in the development of creativity and in expanding their vision to go beyond the problem and move towards the solution.
In everyday life every moment is an opportunity to develop resilience, defined as the ability of people to cope with stressful events and to reorganize their lives in a positive way in the face of difficulties.
Resilience is not innate, but it is possible to train and build it thanks to simple everyday tools such as gratitude, kindness and forgiveness. These tools are not intended as distracted gestures included in care-related gestures, but they can be conscious experiences that decrease stress levels and improve the quality of life, not only of the family member but also of the person who lives with dementia.
Sente-Mente® is not only based on scientific studies, but also by the true Masters: people who live with dementia.
Here are the words of Harry Urban (from the book “#lavitanonfinisceconladiagnosi” by Letizia Espanoli), an extraordinary person who, despite living with dementia for more than ten years with courage, spreads new glimmers of possibilities:
“People who live with dementia often become incredibly good at reading the emotional state of others. In particular we learn from the body language of our caregivers, from facial expressions, and the tone of the voice makes the difference for what concerns the real meaning of the message, which we understand unequivocally, often in spite of what is said in words . If we perceive a positive feeling, the emotional radar of the patient with dementia confirms that all is well. On the other hand, if we feel that something transmits the contrary to us, we might begin to trouble ourselves, even if we do not have the slightest idea of what is really happening. We often shake ourselves not for what you tell us but for how you behave. When you go to visit or talk to someone with dementia, take a positive attitude and try to be in a good mood. We are very good at “reading” your state of mind and this will then affect the rest of our day “.