This is the CAS reflection for my first term of my Local Service – Apex Harmony Lodge.
LO1-Identify their own strengths and develop areas for growth. Students are able to see themselves as individuals with various abilities and skills, of which some are more developed than others:
I have identified many of my strengths and areas of development for my service. A strength is that I can speak Mandarin. This is very helpful because many of the residents are Chinese and due to their dementia, their english is not good anymore. An area of growth is my communication skills. I need to get better at communicating with strangers. My patient is blind so I need to focus more on auditory communication and more importantly, physical communication. An interesting aspect of working in a dementia home is that every week it will be a new experience for them of meeting me. Due to them unable to remember me, it will be a first meeting with them every time. This means I will be able to know them better and get better in connecting with them faster.
Talking to people with dementia is quite a challenging process. The main challenge is changing the way you speak to them so that they can understand it. For example, your sentences cannot be very long and a lot of times you need to repeat words or phrases loudly. It is also a challenge to read the people, because their facial expressions are not very easy to understand.
My patient, Mr Kan, is a retired company employee who speaks mandarin, english, and some malay.
LO7-Recognise and consider the ethics implications of choices and actions. Students show awareness of the consequences of choices and actions in planning and carrying out CAS experiences:
Working with people with dementia is a new experience for me. Seeing tens of people sitting together in that state, holed up in a confined space inherently not doing anything is quite shocking for me. From this I think more about how ethical it is to keep them confined here. There is no cure for dementia in the science world yet. It is a slow process of the brain rotting and the body steadily decreasing in functions. These patients are mostly abandoned here by their family due to financial or social reasons, but to me it seems like a prison.
To take away this experience, I have learned a lot about dementia as a disease and how it affects people. The scene of a lot of people on wheelchairs huddled around a tv in a room without air conditioning. It made me realize how horrible the disease actually can be. However, the workers at the lodge are all very cheerful and optimistic as a way to combat the gloominess. This is something I need to learn to do as well.