Tag Archives: culture change

Ushering in a New Culture of Change at Pioneer Network

We are honored to be a part of the National Pioneer Network Conference kicking off today in beautiful Denver, Colorado.  Ushering in a New Culture of Change promises to be an enlightening and invigorating educational and networking event for participants and those serving the elder care industry.  AGE-u-cate® Training Institute will be offering it’s internationally acclaimed Dementia Live® Experience and Compassionate Touch® Program to innovators

Pioneer Network was founded in 1997 by a small group of prominent professionals in long-term care who were pioneers in changing the culture of aging. These forward thinkers developed the mission and vision, as well as the values and principles, that continue to guide their work to this day.  Today, Pioneer Network is a large, diverse group of passionate individuals from the entire spectrum of aging services. Most are engaged in some aspect of senior living or long-term care which includes nursing homes, assisted living, and other providers of services and supports for elders, as well as the generous supporters, including people that work, live in or visit these settings.

The goals of Pioneer Network have and continue to be a model of care that supports and makes possible for our elders these elements:

Life-Affirming, that is promoting a positive outlook that encourages optimism about life; one that is hopeful and ultimately enjoyable.

Satisfying, meaning that desires, expectations, and needs of the individual are being met so that the person has a sense of contentment.

Humane, which is characterized by tenderness, compassion, and sympathy for our elders and those who are suffering.

Meaningful, which simply is having a sense of purpose and a meaning in their lives.

Pioneer Network was started by pioneers and to this day continues to lead the way for a culture of change in elder care around the world.  We face many challenges ahead in meeting the needs of the fast-growing elder population,  but it is through the efforts of organizations such as this and many others, collaborating with passionate-life minded people that we have a future for elders that can usher in new opportunities for personal growth, improved care, and certainly a life worth living.  Thank you to the leaders at Pioneer Network for the hard work you do every day to improve the lives of our elders and those who serve them.

Pam Brandon is President/Founder of AGE-u-cate Training Institute and a passionate advocate for older adults and their caregivers.  Pam is the creator of the internationally acclaimed Dementia Live® Simulation Experience and other innovative dementia programs.  Pam may be reached at pam@AGEucate.com.

 

 

Hospice professionals: He’s an Invalid Now. Really?

Words have power - handwriting on a napkin with cup of coffee
Words have power – handwriting on a napkin with cup of coffee

“He’s an invalid now.” These words were uttered by a hospice caregiver. I can’t recall  I heard this comment, but it wasn’t all that long ago.  Now, I haven’t used the word invalid to describe a person probably since I was a kid who didn’t know better.  The culture change movement has generated a lot of discussion about words we use to describe people over a “certain age”.  (That’s me- yikes!)

Language matters:

Elder versus elderly. Community instead of nursing home. Care partner instead of caregiver.  Person rather than patient. Older adults versus senior citizens.  I’m especially sensitive to what eldercare or hospice professionals call people.  I know plenty of these folks and I’m here to tell you they are not invalids.

Think about that word. Invalid. In (without) valid (validity).  Really? That’s like saying “you’re sick, you’re old, you don’t matter anymore.” Curious, I looked online to see if this word is still being used much. Webster’s online dictionary tells us that the first recorded use of invalid to describe a “sickly” person was in the early 1700′s. Then I saw something interesting. Webster’s asks people to comment on what prompted them to look up the word. One man commented, “I recently (for the first time) was described as an “invalid” because of my chronic arthritis.” Another said,” They told my wife she was an invalid. She is going for lung transplant.”  New Zealand’s financial assistance program called Work and Income has a benefit called the Invalid Benefit.  So it looks like this term is hanging around.

I can hear some of you saying, oh good grief, Ann, it’s just a word- get over it!. But there is power and energy in words.  When someone is already dealing with major health and life challenges, the last thing he needs is to be “invalidated”.

The person labeled as invalid is still of value; still has relationships; passions; and a life to live. And he can teach the rest of us a little about the grace and grit of our humanity. How’s that for validity?

Dementia Care: How to Make Magic Connections

Dementia care magic-wandWhen visiting someone with dementia, be ready for anything. Things can change day- to- day, even moment- to- moment in dementia care. A little preparation can go a long way to help create a positive experience in dementia care. Have a “magic bag” ready that you can pull things out of that may reach through the dementia to the person inside.

The magic begins by interacting with all the senses. Though some senses may have diminished from effects of dementia, other senses may still be sharp. In previous posts, we suggested pictures or items to bring back memories. There’s memory magic in senses beyond just vision.

The key to creating magic is to learn what the person did in the past or what was happening in the era that they grew up in, and then recreate sensory experiences to evoke memories.

Sound magic is not limited to just music. You can find recorded sounds of just about anything online, especially on Youtube. Here are a few favorite examples.

Familiar sounds often help to recall memories and evoke emotions and stories are sure to follow.

Touch magic is made with texture of familiar things from a person’s life. Present different textures of things such as fruits, fabrics, sand, beans, string/yarn, seashells, leaves, doll babies, tools, engines, aprons. Explore with many objects to discover which ones bring comfort or trigger memories.

If your magic bag contains objects to see, hear and touch, you’ll be equipped to conjure special moments. Care partners become detectives as we look for pieces of life. Because you never know what that one thing will be that reaches a forgotten piece. The magic happens while taking the journey together.

Person Centered Care…Moving the Mission Forward

Person-Centered Care
I had the privilege to lead a session on our Dementia Live™and Compassionate Touch® person-centered care programs at the recent American Health Care Association National Convention in Nashville last week.  As part of the Dementia Education Track faculty, it was such an honor to speak to so many passionate leaders who are stepping out of the box and doing amazing things to transform their communities. I love to listen to the success stories and challenges as it helps us  grow as an organization in helping those we serve.

Kenneth Gronbach’s fantastic keynote address was a clear reminder to us all that the Age Curve is not going to happen – it’s here.   And the numbers speak for themselves. It is a clear reminder that as we face the aging tsunami we  as leaders, MUST look forward in the way we will care for our aging population.

The medical model of care is shifting – albeit a bit too slow for those of us with a mission to see person-centered care become the standard. But let’s focus on the good things happening.  One is the new federal and state regulations that require higher standards of training across the spectrum. This is going to have a great affect on pushing person and patient centered care initiatives to the forefront.

The big question is how we will move the Mission Forward to produce real culture change in our organizations. This takes much more than goals of teaching core competencies. It’s a matter of prioritizing the quality of training, how it will be integrated and the big challenge – how it will be sustainable within your organization.  Culture change happens when everyone – those who live in, work and visit your communities – think, feel and act differently.

We are moving to fast on the Age Curve to rest on what we’ve been doing and look at what CAN be done. I look forward to sharing in future blogs the incredible work that is being down around the world to transform eldercare.  It’s an exciting time to be working together in moving the mission forward!

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