Category Archives: Hospital Professionals

The World needs more AGE-u-caters! Are you one of them?

The rapid pace of our aging world is changing the face of every facet of our society from health and long term care, to faith communities and business establishments.  Across the spectrum, issues such as these are at the forefront of leadership discussions:

  • Dementia friendly hospitals – how do we transition as the average patient age increases and cognitive impairment becomes more prevalent
  • Person and Resident-centered long term care – how do we properly train the current workforce and prepare for the shortage that is already upon us and certain to become even more severe in the near future?
  • Families caring for older adults make up the largest percentage of caregivers in the US and the world.  How do we educate, support and provide resources to help them cope with the physical, financial, emotional and spiritual challenges of the caregiving journey?
  • Faith Communities are faced with ministering and caring for their skyrocketing numbers of aging adults, yet often lack the training, staff and volunteers to meet the complex needs of their members and families.  How do they receive guidance and training to help them further their ministry and mission in helping those in need?
  • Age friendly communities, businesses and organizations must have a plan and guidance to successfully meet changing demographics.  Who can help with better understanding the needs of older adults?

Aging educators and trainers work with long term care providers, hospitals, the business community, families, faith communities, and public agencies.  They are trained in a variety of aging and caregiver topics,  whether one is a professional or family care partner, business person who serves an older adult population, or serves either of these groups with public resources.  We call them AGE-u-caters and they are part of our team at the AGE-u-cate® Training Institute!

AGE-u-caters are  seasoned professionals in the aging field, coming from the senior care industry, clinicians, social work or education.  All have a passion to help others by using their skills to train, educators and coach others.  Often they are looking for a career change, recently retired from long term regular employment, or supplementing retirement income or other part time work.

AGE-u-caters are networkers, involved in their communities and continually learning about the aging field.  They are part of a fast growing worldwide network aging advocates in their local and regional communities.

The world needs more AGE-u-caters!  Could you be one of them?

www.AGEucate.com

Pam Brandon is President and Founder of AGE-u-cate® Training Institute.  She is a passionate advocate for aging adults and those that care for them and is leading a fast growing network of worldwide AGE-u-caters who offer innovative and powerful training and education programs – creating transformative change for an aging world!  

 

Adventures in Senior Care…An Industry on the Move

AdventureI’m always energized after attending and speaking at conferences.  Learning about creative programming, new technologies being developed and how we are preparing for the next wave of seniors makes me even more excited about our future as a training and education provider.   To be in the senior care industry today means adventure at every corner!

Like life itself, it is the journey that counts.  While industry analysts try to predict future trends, we all know that there will be surprises along the way.  I often relate caregiving for older adults, especially those with chronic illness – to riding a roller coaster.  Up one minute, and down the next with twists and turns along the way.

These incredible highs and lows are experiences that leaves you forever changed.  Leaders, entrepreneurs, clinicians, academicians and seniors dealing with aging issues, like dementia or other chronic illnesses themselves are collaborating to make a better world for us all.  The fact is our society is aging quickly.  How we age and care for others in the years ahead is up to us.

Adventures don’t come without risks.  Entrepreneur Tony Robbin’s quote is a reminder that with every new opportunity, there will most likely be some difficulties along the way – “Stop being afraid of what could go wrong, and start being excited about what could go right.”

Dynamic products and programs like Eversound, Eldergrow®, SingFit™️ and Ageless Grace® are just a few that come to mind that are stretching the limits of possibilities for seniors to live fully.   Embracing creativity and boldness,  these companies are successfully transforming the growing numbers of professional and family caregivers who can also see their lives enriched along with their care partners.

It’s an incredible time to be in Senior Care!

Pam Brandon is President/Founder of AGE-u-cate® Training Institute.  A caregiver advocate, speaker, trainer and facilitator, Pam is passionate about embracing positive change in senior care through quality training and education.  

www.AGEucate.com, www.eversoundhq.com,www.eldergrow.org, www.singfit.com

The Transformational Power of Touch in Dementia Care

073b5c55b0caf45ad6bb584bf7d4ede6-2Touch is one of our most fundamental needs.

It is the first sense to develop in the womb and one of the last ones to go during dying.  Although our situation, age and condition may change the need for human contact does not.

Why, then is touch deprivation so real in old age?  

It occurs, in part, because of separation from loved ones but mostly because of fear on the part of younger people. Fear of looking at old age up close and personal. I think that if old people are thought of as former people the assumption is they no longer have the same needs as when younger. When it comes to touch this idea really misses the mark! According to  Jane A. Simington, RN, PhD conducted a literature review and her findings were published in Humane Medicine Journal. She reports:

Older persons report that touch conveys fondness, security, closeness, warmth, concern, and encouragement, and makes them feel an increased sense of trust and well-being. They report that touch helps them to develop close, trusting relationships with staff and other residents. As tactile sensitivity decreases, the need to receive expressive touch may increase. Nature can be cruel however, and the elderly person often may have no one to provide this increased touch. The children are gone and the partner has died. One elderly woman put it this way, “Sometimes I hunger to be held. But he is the one who would have held me. He is the one who would have stroked my head. Now there is no one. No comfort.”

Caregivers can be agents of change and have the power to profoundly impact quality of life for older adults by reversing the effects of touch deprivation. Of course there are physical benefits of skilled touch that  result in improved function in activities of daily living.  Proper touch alleviates aches and pains and improves circulation, resulting in greater ease of movement and the ability to perform physical tasks with greater comfort. It can induce a relaxation response, leading to improved sleep quality and feelings of calmness. But focusing only on the physical benefits adds to the medicalization of aging.

Rather than viewing touch as a treatment for ailments let’s look to it as a way to validate the human experience of aging. The gift of caring touch encourages feelings of self-acceptance and worthiness. But our influence goes even further. By literally reaching out to older adults we demonstrate wholesome attitudes about aging. Maybe by our own actions we will encourage others to be more willing to touch our elders. Society as a whole stands to gain.

Ann Catlin, OTR, LMT is an expert and educator in the field of therapeutic touch and the creator of the groundbreaking Compassionate Touch® program for those living with dementia or at end-of-life.  Professional and family care partners are witnessing transformational change by using the Compassionate Touch program to engage, connect and comfort.  Compassionate Touch is a program of AGE-u-cate Training Institute, whose mission is developing cutting edge aging and dementia training.  

www.AGEucate.com

Increased Risks for Hospital Patients with Dementia

Medical Team Working On Patient In Emergency Room

About one fourth of older hospital patients have dementia.  These patients are at an outstandingly higher risk than other patients for:

  • Delirium
  • Falls
  • Dehydration
  • Poor Nutrition
  • Untreated Pain
  • Medication-related problems
  • Wandering
  • Agitated behavior

Because to the stress caused by acute illness and being in an unfamiliar setting, some older patients show signs of dementia for the first time in a hospital.

Delirium is a  disturbance in mental abilities that results in confused thinking and reduced awareness of your environment. The start of delirium is usually rapid — within hours or a few days.

Delirium can often be traced to one or more contributing factors, such as a severe or chronic medical illness, changes in metabolic balance (such as low sodium), medication, infection, surgery, or alcohol or drug withdrawal.

Dementia is the leading risk factor for delirium.  Patients with dementia are actually three to five times more likely than older adult patients to develop delirium in the hospital and two-thirds of delirium in hospitals occurs in patients with dementia.

These high risk adverse health events are rising at alarming rates as our aging population increases rapidly and hospitals are seeing more patients with dementia symptoms.

According to the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing and the Alzheimer’s Association, dementia should be considered a possibility in every hospital patient age 75 and over and can be present in younger patients as well.  People with dementia usually come into a hospital for treatment of their other medical conditions, although some come in because of complications of their dementia.  Of older people with dementia, 30% also have coronary artery disease; 28% congestive heart failure; 21% diabetes and 17% chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Doctors at Lutheran Medical Center in Denver, who serve the biggest senior population in the metro area, have made changes to help their older patients avoid the delirium diagnosis if they have no choice but to go the hospital.

They’ve essentially taken their traditional 42,000-square-foot emergency room and cut it in half, leaving one side equipped as a traditional ER, and turning the other half into a “Senior ER.”

A big key is preventing the all-too-common side-effects of delirium. See a special ER for seniors, equipped with dozens of brilliant features, that speed comfort and care to this population.

http://www.alzheimersweekly.com/2017/05/emergency-room-paradise-heals-dementias.html

Bridging technology, smart design features, reduced noise and training staff to better communicate with patients and families, more hospitals will transition to dementia friendly healthcare communities.   The “frightening” hospital experience for the growing population living with dementia may just be a thing of the past in a few years.

www.AGEucate.com

Pam Brandon is President/Founder of AGE-u-cate Training Institute.   Their mission is developing and delivering cutting edge dementia education and training for health and long term care providers and others.  #DementiaLive #CompassionateTouch