How Dementia Friendly Communities Can Change Our Attitudes

cityscapeDementia is everyone’s business.  After decades of being relegated to an issue of institutionalism,  the idea that people living with dementia can have a quality of life is a huge step in furthering education, awareness and acceptance for  millions of Americans that are affected by dementia.  The Dementia Friendly Community movement is making great strides in bringing opportunities to change attitudes, actions and our thinking.

People living with dementia and their families should have access to community services such as grocery stores, retail shops, banks, recreation centers and their faith communities without the fear of embarrassment or isolation.  For those who are living alone, we must make services accessible so that they can continue to enjoy a quality of life that is not only safe but engages them with others.

While the “dementia friendly” concept is by all accounts, in its baby steps across most parts of the world, it is nonetheless capturing the attention of policy makers, businesses and consumers.

Allowing people with dementia to live independently for as long as possible means that as a society we must reduce the stigma of dementia and improve how we are educating all levels of society.  This means the check-out person at the local grocery store, pharmacy assistant and bank teller all need to understand how to better communicate and respond to people who are living with cognitive impairment.

The World Alzheimer Report 2015:  The Global Impact of Dementia estimates that there are currently 46.8 million people living with dementia around the world with numbers set to increase to 74.7 million by 2030 and 131.5 million by 2050.  There are over 9.9 million new cases of dementia each year worldwide, which breaks down to one new case every 3 seconds.

The Dementia Friendly Community objectives go beyond seeking safety and well-being for those living with dementia, but empower all members of a community to celebrate the capabilities and honor them as valuable members of the villages, towns and cities where they reside.

Dementia educators and advocates are greatly needed to help people understand dementia and even more, how to better to communicate, respond to their needs and support their families.   It offers communities the ability to take place in making real changes and encourages conversations about what needs to be done locally, nationally and globally to change our attitudes, actions and thinking about dementia.

Pam Brandon is President/Founder of AGE-u-cate Training Institute.  Their growing network of Master Trainers provides cutting edge aging and dementia education for long term care providers, hospitals, non-profits, higher education and the business community.  

www.AGEucate.com

Collaboration – Producing Creative Solutions in Senior Care

collaborationOur hyper competitive, profit driven business world often scoffs at the idea of collaboration.  I supposed I’m naive, but I want to think that those in senior care are more passionate and compassionate about working with others for the greater good.  I still believe this is true for most of us.  Working well with others almost always comes back to us ten fold.  This is true in life and business.

If there is any field that begs for creative problem solving it’s senior care.  We’re helping elders and families navigate rough seas.  More often than not, these circumstances don’t fit neatly in a box with easy solutions.  Instead there are complex decisions to be made at every juncture.. not just from families but from those who are serving this client base.

Collaboration is the action of working with someone to create or produce something.  If we look at the power of collaboration in creative problem solving, it only makes sense that those in this industry and those who service this industry need to be doing a whole lot more collaborating.

The geriatric population of the United States is growing rapidly, and the senior care industry is expanding to meet that increasing demand.

By U.S. Census Bureau estimates, there will be 83.7 million people over the age of 65 in the nation by the year 2050 – that is almost double the population of people that age in 2012. The ‘baby boomer’ generation began turning 65 in 2011. By 2050, any surviving baby boomers will be over the age of 85.

Many aspects of the senior care industry will likely advance and expand rapidly as the population continues to age.

The global elderly care services market was $629 billion in 2014, according to Grand View Research, with institutional care services accounting for about half that market. Growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.1%, the global market will likely reach $1.2 billion by 2022; home health and personal care will likely experience tremendous growth during this period.

This phenomenal growth will most definitely open unlimited doors for those who see the need to better serve their customers by working well with others.   None of us can operate in a vacuum, and certainly not in an industry that will continue to evolve as new generations require different levels of care, workforce preparedness   will become increasingly paramount, and staff shortages across the spectrum will mean all of us must be prepared to connect and collaborate.

Pam Brandon is President/Founder of AGE-u-cate Training Institute.  Collaborating with an international network of Master Trainers in providing innovative training for front line care staff, families and clinicians, AGE-u-cate is transforming the landscape with experiential tools to improve care for those with dementia.  

www.AGEucate.com

Why Elder Abuse is a Public Health Crisis and Growing Worse

Elder Abuse is a serious problem that needs more attention from lawmakers, public agencies, senior care providers, faith communities and the general public.

The National Center on Elder Abuse estimates that between one and two million elderly adults have suffered some form of elder abuse.  The main types are physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional and psychological abuse, neglect and self-neglect, abandonment, and financial exploitation.

Elders with dementia are thought to be at greater risk of abuse and neglect than those of the general population.  In one study, 20% of caregivers expressed fears that they would become violent with the people for whom they care for.  Some other alarming statistics:

  • 60% of caregivers have been verbally abusive with the person for whom they were providing care (Journal of Elder Abuse 2005)
  • Between 5 and 10% of caregivers reported that they were physically abusive toward the care recipients (Journal of American Geriatrics 2010)
  • 14% of caregivers reported that they were neglectful (Journal of American Geriatrics Society 2010)

Why the urgency to address this problem?   The number of people living with dementia is rapidly rising.  Families are trying desperately to cope with the emotional and physical stress that comes with caring for someone with dementia.  It’s frightening to care for someone you don’t understand.

We must do more to reach family caregivers, who currently account for the majority of elder caregiving in our country.  Caregivers are trying to juggle work, often raising children at the same time they are caring for elderly parents.   Elder spouses are often isolated and without the support of community services simply because they don’t have access to what might be available to them.

Caregiving can be a lonely, overwhelming and and often a hopeless journey.   Families need education and tools to help them cope with the uncertainties that arise when caring for someone with dementia.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is June 15th.  We are privileged to be collaborating with the Oregon Health Care Association to be sharing our innovative and cutting edge programs, Dementia Live™️ and Compassionate Touch® to family and professional caregivers on June 1st.   Caregivers desperately need a deeper understanding of dementia and practical tools to respond to behaviors.

We encourage everyone to step up in supporting our elders and caregivers and to stop the rise of elder abuse.

Pam Brandon is President/Founder of AGE-u-cate Training Institute whose mission is to provide cutting edge training and education which creates transformative change for an aging world.

www.AGEucate.com;

 www.OHCA.com

 

Senior Living: Groceries on the Doorstep

Fresh produce in paper grocery bag inside kitchen
Fresh produce in paper grocery bag inside kitchen

Is it true that gone are the days of making a grocery list and physically heading to the store? Grocery delivery service is growing by leaps and bounds. Convenience and time savings are two reasons people seem to like delivery rather than tackling the task themselves. My reaction is mixed when I think about the possible impact on senior living.

I should note that I’m referring to relatively healthy older adults 75 years or better.  These folks have spent a lifetime making trips to buy groceries and I imagine most dismiss delivery as a luxury. Is going out to buy groceries time consuming? Yes. Does it take effort? Yes. Is it worth the trouble? I believe it is.

Sure delivery is convenient. But as a result, convenient may come with hidden costs: greater isolation, lack of variety and lack of physical activity. Grocery stores, especially in smaller towns or urban neighborhoods are social hubs.  Have you ever had the experience of running into someone you know at the store? I have. When seniors go to the grocery store, they stay in the collective consciousness of their community and remain a visible part of it.

As baby boomers age, they will likely take advantage of delivery from grocery stores and farm markets.  But I think we may be doing the elders among us a disservice to assume they want to jump on this trend.  There will still be plenty of senior living in our communities filling out that grocery list and heading to the market. At least I hope so!

Ann Catlin is a training and education consultant for AGE-u-cate Training Institute and the innovator of the Compassionate Touch® program. She supports AGE-u-cate’s mission is to create transformative change for an aging world by developing and delivering cutting edge training and education for senior care, healthcare, non-profits, and the educational community.

www.AGEucate.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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