Tag Archives: dementia friendly

Dementia-Friendly Faith Communities: Let’s Get Started

Faith communities should start to think about creating a culture of acceptance for persons with dementia.

Many faith communities find themselves investing in worship experiences that will attract younger members.  However, it is just as essential to keep older members engaged and attending worship services, including those with dementia.

Faith often plays a vital role in the lives of persons with dementia and their family members.  But, the presence of dementia can greatly interfere with a person’s ability to actively engage in their faith community.

Becoming a dementia-friendly congregation will create an open and welcoming environment for all.  It is an initiative that can be embraced by all members, regardless of age.  Faith communities are stronger when they recognize the value of multi-generational connection and interaction.

Dementia-Friendly Transformation

Church leaders can begin by calling upon professional community resources to educate congregational members about the needs of persons with dementia.

We should dispel notions that people with dementia are incapable of benefitting from worship.  As a result,  persons with dementia can be more easily understood and accepted with compassion and lack of judgment.

Recognizing when someone stops attending is a good first step.  Leaving the house alone as the disease progresses is very overwhelming and leads to isolation. Mobilizing volunteers to reach out and offer transportation could help them hold on to their faith a little longer.

Start with Small Changes

Begin with simple changes to assist persons with dementia to better navigate their way around the church. Therefore, consider forming a group of volunteers, with specialized training, to serve as ambassadors to escort or sit with someone in need.

Create opportunities for purposeful engagement to keep them connected.  Serving as a greeter, wiping down tables after fellowship, or telling a bible story in Sunday school may be a possibility.

Dementia-friendly worship is best when it is inclusive and engaging.  In doing so, we help them stay close to God and honor the mothers and fathers of our faith.

Beth is a Certified Master Trainer with the AGE-u-cate Training Institute and a compassionate professional with decades of experience as a Registered Nurse, caregiver, patient advocate, educator, and trainer.  Early in her career, Beth found her passion for working with elderly populations and their caregivers.  Living in the Green Bay/Fox Valley area with her husband, she enjoys driving a ski boat for barefoot or slalom water-skiers, playing board games or creating a new quilt.

Julie has worked in Aging Services for over 30 years and has been a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator since 1990. She is a Certified Master Trainer with the AGE-u-cate Training Institute. Through her company Enlighten Eldercare,  she provides training and educational programs on elder caregiving to private and professional caregivers.  She is an instructor and the Interim Director of Gerontology at Northern Illinois University and lives in the Chicago Northwest Suburb of Mount Prospect, IL.

‘Samen Dementievriendelijk’ teaches people to recognize and help people with dementia

I thought this intriguing blog post title would spark some interest, as I’m writing this while on a European trip that will be concluding in Amsterdam.  Samen Dementievriendelijk is the Netherland’s Dementia Delta Plan, which aims to create dementia-friendly communities by teaching people to recognize and help people living with dementia.

‘Samen dementievriendelijk’, inspired by earlier foreign dementia projects, is an initiative that will help their society to learn more about dementia and the ways one can help people with dementia and their carers. Within this program not only the public is trained to become a ‘dementiafriend’ by registering on a special website. They will be invited to do an online course where they learn to identify common dementia-related behaviors and their causes, and how to respond to them. But also a brought range of companies are addressed to become dementia friendly in their products and services. Nationwide companies like supermarkets, bus and taxi companies, banks, insurers but also local retailers and many municipalities participate in this program.

The cooperative Deltaplan for Dementia is the Dutch national platform to address and manage the growing problem of dementia. Together with their member organizations in the field of science, research, healthcare institutions, patient organization, healthcare insurance, education and business, they aim for better lives for people with dementia and their families and to create a barrier against the effects of dementia.

Deriving its name from the Dutch waterworks that protects a large area of land from the sea, Deltaplan dementia works closely together with private and public members based on three important pillars; research, healthcare/support, and a dementia-friendly society.

Next,  their national strategy Deltaplan Dementia aims to focus on international collaboration. They strongly believe in international collaboration to tackle this worldwide challenge and growing problem.

Deltaplan Dementia:

  • is an eight-year program which began in 2013
  • includes dementia research and innovation programs and  currently has over hundred different research projects
  • aims to focus on Improvement of Health Care to ensure that patients of today can continue to live at home as long as possible, supported by appropriate professional and informal care
  • also aims to stimulate a society that is more dementia friendly

Like Dementia Friendly America, initiatives like these are spreading throughout the world, giving tremendous hope for widespread quality of life improvements in those living with dementia and those who care for them.

I’m going to work really hard at the proper pronunciation of Samen dementievriendelijk’, and look forward to sharing more about what Europe is doing in this arena.

Pam Brandon is President/Founder of AGE-u-cate Training Insitute and a passionate advocate for older adults and those who serve them.  She is the creator of the internationally recognized Dementia Live® Simulation Program,  transforming how people understand and respond to persons living with cognitive impairments.  You may read more about this program at http://www.AGEucate.com

https://deltaplandementie.nl/en

Have you Heard of Dementia Friendly Purple Table Reservations?

I just learned about the Purple Table Reservations program and was beyond excited to learn and share with my readers.

This is straight from their website: www.purpletables.org :

The Purple Table Reservation flag and restaurant training program are designed for those who are living with Dementia/Alzheimer’s Disease, Autism, PTSD, TBI, a hearing or vision impairment, or other physical or cognitive condition that may benefit from a more predictable environment and additional accommodations when dining out. When making a Purple Table reservation, you may provide the restaurant with further details. However no further detail is necessary, a Purple Table reservation is all that is needed.

Families will know that when they make a Purple Table reservation at a participating restaurant, the restaurant and staff will go above and beyond to make your dining out experience enjoyable and successful.  They will provide the accommodations that work best, along with a little extra patience and attention from staff who have been trained to understand different needs and how to best try and accommodate.

Going out to lunch or dinner at a restaurant should be a lovely and relaxing experience.  It is something to look forward to, and many of us take the experience for granted.  However, many choose not to go out to eat because for themselves or someone they love it will be a challenging experience.  We wanted to change this.  Purple Table Reservations will change this.

This is just one more innovative initiative to change the landscape for persons living with dementia and other cognitive conditions, and their care partners.  We’ll be adding a link to Purple Table Reservations on our website as we engage and partner with more organizations, champions, and advocates for dementia friendly initiatives that are sweeping our country.   I love their website statement:

Embrace the Community.  A little extra patience goes a long way.  

Hats off to the creative and caring folks at Purple Table Reservations!

www.AGEucate.com

www.purpletables.com

www.dfwamerica.org

Will 2017 be the Year of Dementia Friendly Hospitals?

Senior Female Patient Being Pushed In Wheelchair By Nurse

In my office there is a framed print of Nelson Mandela’s famous quote “It always seems impossible until IT’S DONE”.  I believe hospitals have procrastinated long enough in becoming dementia friendly and the urgency to GET IT DONE is now.

The surge of dementia patients entering emergency rooms, combined with hospital-acquired delirium (often higher in intensive care and surgery) is straining healthcare staff in their ability to properly treat patients and costing million of dollars.  Many advocates agree that dementia is the next public healthcare crisis.

While “dementia-friendly” may seem an impossible task, patient-centered initiatives aimed at improving communication skills, care procedures and making environmental improvements can create deep culture change in any hospital. In fact, patients, families, staff, volunteers and the community will create transformational change.

Let’s look at a few examples of simple dementia friendly initiatives that can be impactful in helping a patient with dementia:

  1.  Reduce noise and overstimulation in a patient’s room.
  2. Use pictures instead of words (ex. shirt and pants on the closet door)
  3. Teach communication skills to staff and volunteers.  Provide training that is impactful for everyone who comes in contact with the patient!
  4. Have simple communication/care practice guidelines available for families that incorporates communication skills used by hospital staff.
  5. Design a dementia-specific activity area for patients with cognitive impairment and their families.
  6. Reevaluate room safety, eliminating or properly disguising hazards.
  7. Incorporate researched,  holistic therapies that can reduce the need for psychotropic medications.
  8. Designate leaders that have advanced dementia training to help implement and monitor changes, and provide ongoing education to all stakeholders.
  9. Be willing to take one step at a time,  create measurable tracking tools, listen to employee and family suggestions and adjust education and training protocols as needed.
  10. Lastly, have a plan to share dementia friendly initiatives with a strong community outreach education program.  Not only will you be making a difference in helping your community, but it’s great PR for your hospital.

MAKE 2017 the year YOUR hospital becomes dementia friendly!

Pam Brandon, President/Founder AGE-u-cate® Training Institute www.AGEucate.com ;  pam@AGEucate.com