THE ART OF LISTENING

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I recently attended one of our regular and helpful training programs, designed to not only equip us to be more effective volunteers, but to motivate us to aspire to make a difference in the lives of the participants we welcome into our Social Day Care and Connections programs.

Daniel Lentz is Memory Matters Marketing and Training Coordinator and is personally responsible for the Purple Angel Project designed to transform our local community into one that can proudly be recognized as “dementia friendly”. Daniel led the training program and as I listened I was reminded of a well known management book authored by the late Stephen Covey. The title is “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”.

Being a volunteer in dementia day care is at once enjoyable and rewarding but at times it necessitates  observing, listening, thinking and acting differently to the norm. I once attended a Covey seminar and some of the thoughts he articulated then are relevant today in my role as a volunteer at Memory Matters.

For example Covey stated “most people do not listen with the intent to understand ; they listen with the intent to reply”

True! So our challenge is to listen to those diagnosed with dementia or mild cognitive impairment with heightened sensitivity and intense focus so that we can respond in an informed and helpful way.

There is a joy in listening to our participants. As weeks and months go by many of these wonderful people become our friends and touch us in unexpected ways. In reality we learn as much from them as they do from us. It is our privilege to help motivate and stimulate their minds, and to facilitate much needed socialization and human interaction.

To quote again from Stephen Covey “to touch the soul of another human being is to walk on holy ground”.

Please share this if you believe it could help someone.

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