Three Golden Rules (2024)

Three Golden Rules (1)

Three Golden Rules (2)

The SPECAL Photograph Album understanding of dementia leads to a counter-intuitive but essential set of principles that we call SPECAL sense.

SPECAL sense is needed by everyone communicating in any way with the person with dementia.

SPECAL sense has meant that I have been able to bring joy and sustainable contentment into his life when no one else could. That’s something I’ll never forget.

SPECALsense immediately reduces stress for the person with dementia and everyone around them.

SPECALsense begins with three Golden Rules:

  1. Don’t ask direct questions
  2. Listen to the expert – the person with dementia – and learn from them
  3. Don’t contradict

These Three Golden Rules run contrary to commonsense communication styles which are taken for granted when dementia is not an issue.

The Three Golden Rules are counter-intuitive and those of us without dementia need to develop this entirely new set of communication skills.

Read our simple examples and explore the difference you can make to someone with dementia ……

Just stopping asking questions has completely altered our life. I cannot believe the change. Her distress has evaporated. We have got her back again.

1. Don’t ask direct questions

Avoid asking any direct question that requires the person with dementia to search for factual information that may not be stored in their album. They are already aware of their disability. Asking them to search for facts they may not have will merely increase this awareness, causing them unnecessary distress and potential trauma.

It is surprising how much information you can gather without asking direct questions!

My mother kept asking where the dog was. I tried over and over again to explain that the dog had died. Then I went on a SPECAL course and decided to try saying that the dog was fast asleep. She sighed with relief. It was just a different answer, that’s all, but it made such a difference.

2. Listen to the expert (the person with dementia) and learn from them

Listen to the questions the person with dementia is asking, and consider very carefully what the best answer might be from their perspective rather than your own.

For people with dementia, feelings are more important than facts. It is crucial that the information they receive generates good feelings for them.

  • Having a record of good feelings, yet not knowing why, is one thing.
  • Having a record of negative, possibly traumatic feelings with no explanation as to why, is quite another.

We owe it to the person with dementia to avoid leaving them with anxieties that they cannot, only moments later, explain.

So we must search for the information and the language that is most acceptable to them. Once we have found the best answer to their most frequent question, this form of words should be used consistently by everyone coming into contact with the person. This may not be commonsense, but it is certainly SPECAL sense, and it increases confidence all round.

Carers using the SPECAL method find that the person’s anxious questioning gradually subsides.

Nowadays I try and say something like ‘I expect you’re right’, and straight away the problem that was brewing just seems to vanish.

3. Don’t contradict:

Do not argue with the person with dementia about which page or which photograph they are choosing to use in their album.

They are increasingly likely to use intact memories from their pre-dementia past, in order to understand what is happening around them in the present. The rest of us need to avoid disturbing the sense they are making, and start where they are at. We need to take careful note of the language they use, so that we can follow them, rather than expecting them to follow us.

Mum is happy, we’re happy, the carers are all happy, what more can you ask?

The Three Golden Rules may seem counter-intuitive at first, but when they are used by everyone coming into contact with the person with dementia, the benefits quickly become self-evident and life will be much easier.

Once SPECAL sense is used, many aspects of caring for the person with dementia will begin to fall into place.

As you develop your understanding of dementia by using SPECAL sense, your confidence as a carer will grow and you can start building up a personalised SPECAL Care Profile.


Three Golden Rules (3)

Three Golden Rules (4)

Three Golden Rules (5)

Three Golden Rules (2024)


What are the 3 basic golden rules? ›

1) Debit what comes in - credit what goes out. 2) Credit the giver and Debit the Receiver. 3) Credit all income and debit all expenses.

What are the three golden rules of interviewing? ›

The three golden rules of an interview are: 1) Research and Preparation, 2) Demonstrate Professionalism and Engagement, and 3) Follow-up and Thank You.

What are the three golden rules of feedback? ›

Here are the three golden rules of feedback: It has to be honest. It has to be kind. It has to be timely.

What are the 3 golden rules of ethics? ›

Do good to others as you would like good to be done to you. Regard bad for yourself whatever you regard bad for others. Accept that (treatment) from others which you would like others to accept from you ... Do not say to others what you do not like to be said to you.

What are the three versions of the golden rule? ›

“Don't do things you wouldn't want to have done to you.” “Do for all others, both directly and indirectly, what you would want done for you.” And, “Don't do to any others, either directly or indirectly, what you wouldn't want done to you.”

What are the 3 C's of interviewing? ›

The three C's are basically confidence, communication and common sense. There is an extremely fine line between confidence and over-confidence. So be sure to understand both well.

What are the 3 P's of interviewing? ›

In order to succeed in any interview, you should focus on the 3 Ps essential to an interview- preparation, practice, and positivity. Preparing extensively around the 3 Ps will help you give an edge over other candidates and increase your chances of getting hired.

What are the three 3 main parts of an interview? ›

An interview is structured into three parts:
  • Opening the interview and welcoming the candidate, outlining the purpose and structure of the interview.
  • The body of the interview. The fact finding part, ask questions and allow the candidate to answer.
  • Closing the interview.

What is the rule of 3 in life? ›

Normally, the rule of threes contains the following: You can survive three minutes without breathable air (unconsciousness), or in icy water. You can survive three hours in a harsh environment (extreme heat or cold). You can survive three days without drinkable water or sleep.

What is the main golden rule? ›

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This seems the most familiar version of the golden rule, highlighting its helpful and proactive gold standard.

What is the golden rule of leadership? ›

Hock's simple yet powerful definition of leadership reminds me of the verse in the Bible – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, commonly known as The Golden Rule. It is also a reminder that leadership is not just about achieving your goals but about building relationships with the people you lead.

What are the Golden Rules 3? ›

The three golden rules of accounting are (1) debit all expenses and losses, credit all incomes and gains, (2) debit the receiver, credit the giver, and (3) debit what comes in, credit what goes out. These rules are the basis of double-entry accounting, first attributed to Luca Pacioli.

What are the three golden rules of communication? ›

Prepare: know exactly what you want to say before you say it. Be attentive: understand the reactions of the audience. Show you are listening: make it obvious that this is a two-way process and that you accept the feedback that you are getting.

What are the 3 C's of feedback? ›

By leveraging Clarity, Contextual Meaning, and Composure, managers can adapt their feedback conversations to the unique needs of each employee and provide an actionable roadmap for improved learning, growth, and performance going forward.

What are the key values of the golden rule? ›

The Golden rule is often linked with religion, but it can still guide our actions even if we don't hold religious or spiritual beliefs. be treated with kindness and respect, then you need to treat other people with kindness and respect too.

What are the Golden Rule guidelines? ›

The Golden Rule guides people to choose for others what they would choose for themselves. The Golden Rule is often described as 'putting yourself in someone else's shoes', or 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you'(Baumrin 2004).

What are the golden rules everyone should know? ›

  • 6 Golden Rules to Success That Anyone Can Learn. We look around us and see successful people everywhere, so why can't we be one of them? ...
  • Learn From Your Mistakes. ...
  • Don't Be Afraid to Ask For Help. ...
  • Learn to Value Others. ...
  • Emulate the Right People. ...
  • Take Control of Your Own Destiny. ...
  • Be Honest About What You Want.

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