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

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.

Founder and Director
Shereen Husseinis a Health and Social Care Policy professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), United Kingdom.
Shereen Founded the MENARAH Network in 2019, through an initial grant from the Global Challenge Research Fund, UKRI. She is a medical demographer with expertise in ageing, family dynamics, migration and long-term care systems. Shereen regularly collaborates with the United Nations, the World Health Organisation and the World Bank in policy and research focused on ageing in the Middle East and North Africa Region.
Shereen received her undergraduate degree in statistics and a postgraduate degree in computer science at Cairo University. She completed an MSc in medical demography at the London School of Hygiene and a PhD in quantitative demography and population studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science, United Kingdom.