Tag Archives: faith communities

Communication Skills Training Improves Dementia Care

Caring for people with dementia requires specialized communication skills training.  Unfortunately, healthcare professionals and family caregivers often receive little training to enable them to meet the communicative needs of people with dementia.

Research has shown that communication skills training in dementia care significantly improves the quality of life and well being of people with dementia and increases positive interactions in various care settings. Communication skills training shows significant impact on professional and family caregivers’ communication skills, competencies, and knowledge.

As we look at the look at the vast growth taking place across the spectrum of those serving older adults,  in addition to the health and long-term care fields.  Communication skills training is being implemented by EMS professionals, Social Work, Case Management, Chaplains and Volunteer workers and to the broader community of those serving older adults in a wide variety of capacities.  Financial advisors, insurance personnel, retail, and banking are all seeing a rising need for communication skills training to better serve their older adult customer base that often is living with dementia or other cognitive impairments.

Key qualities for those directly serving the elderly and aging populations are

1. communication skills

2. compassion

3. physical stamina.

With the growing demand for in-home care services, home health aides and certified nursing assistants (CNAs),  communications skills training is more important than ever so they are well prepared to care for the high percentage of people living with dementia.  These are high demand professions and one of the fastest growing occupations projected.  Already, in many areas of the US and around the world, shortages and the consequences of these staffing challenges are affecting the quality of care.

Quality communication skills training, starting with awareness and empathy training will better prepare our health care teams, retailers,  legal and financial advisors, faith communities and first responders to face the already ballooning numbers of aging adults who deserve better care and certainly more respect here and around the globe.

Pam Brandon is President/Founder of AGE-u-cate® Training Institute and a passionate advocate for older adults and those who serve them.  Pam is the creator of the internationally recognized Dementia Live® awareness and simulation training program.  

http://www.AGEucate.com

 

The Important Role of Faith Community Nursing

Faith-based hospital organizations recognize the impact of partnerships with their local faith-based communities.  The important role of faith community nursing programs is to bridge the gap in helping congregational nurses to meet the needs of their faith communities.

Who are faith community nurses?  They are licensed, registered nurses who focus on the intentional care of the spirit, assisting the members of the faith community to maintain and/or regain wholeness in body, mind and spirit.  Often this program integrates a covenant between the hospital, the faith community and the registered nurse.

How can faith community nursing programs help with dementia care?   Caring for a loved one with dementia can be a heavy burden.  Families often turn to their faith communities after their families for education, support and resources.  If hospital faith nurses are able to coordinate information, services, education and support through a faith community nurse who works directly with those members, transfer of important information to those families becomes critical.

If families are able to call upon the expertise of a health care professional who is medically qualified, has experience in helping caregivers and individuals living with dementia, this can be a huge help to that family in keeping their loved one safely at home, finding needed respite services or community-based care.

As hospitals branch out with community clinics, expanding their physical reach to neighborhoods, the role of outreach efforts to bridge educational services with faith communities is a huge opportunity and benefit for the hospital, community organizations and ultimately the families who desperately need access to support, education and resource information.

The role of faith community nursing will no doubt evolve with the fast growth of the aging population and rise of family caregivers.  The “village” concept is taking hold with the initiatives of many aging services, hospitals and grass-roots efforts coming together to reach homebound older adults who too often don’t know where to turn or how to start to look for help.

Pam Brandon is the President/Founder of AGE-u-cate Training Institute and a passionate advocate for older adults and those who serve them.  The creator of the internationally recognized Dementia Live sensitivity awareness program.  

http://www.AGeucate.com

Caregiver’s Bill of Rights – Words of Guidance and Hope

Families caring for aging adults have and will continue to reach unprecedented numbers affecting every corner of our society.   We MUST address the complex needs of this population who are the foundation of long-term care nationwide, exceeding Medicaid long-term care spending in all states (National Alliance for Caregiving and Overcare, March 2009).  Jo Horne, author of Caregiving:  Helping an Aging Love One created the Caregiver’s Bill of Rights. These are powerful and impactful words of hope and guidance for each and every person caring for a family member or friend:

I have the right . . . 

To take care of myself. This is not an act of selfishness. It will give me the capacity to take better care of my relative.

To seek help from others even though my relative may object. I recognize the limits of my own endurance and strength.

To maintain facets of my own life that do not include the person I care for, just as I would if he or she were healthy. I know that I do everything that I reasonably can for this person, and I have the right to do some things for myself.

To get angry, be depressed, and express other difficult feelings occasionally.

To reject any attempt by my relative (either conscious or unconscious) to manipulate me through guilt, anger, or depression.

To receive consideration, affection, forgiveness, and acceptance for what I do for my loved one for as long as I offer these qualities in return.

To take pride in what I am accomplishing and to applaud the courage it has sometimes taken to meet the needs of my relative.

To protect my individuality and my right to make a life for myself that will sustain me in the time when my relative no longer needs my full-time help.

To expect and demand that as new strides are made in finding resources to aid physically and mentally impaired older persons in our country, similar strides will be made toward aiding and supporting caregivers.

To ___________________________________________________
(Add you own statement of rights to this list. Read the list to yourself every day.)

Pam Brandon is President/Founder of AGE-u-cate® Training Institute and a passionate advocate for older adults and those that serve them.

www.AGEucate.com

www.caregiveraction.org

 

Wake-up Call for Faith Communities: Don’t Forget your Aging Members!

Photo of business hands holding blackboard and writing FAITH diagram

Through the years I’ve had the great privilege to work with thousands of elders and families as my professional career in senior care began in educating families and faith communities.   I will never forget one of my earliest conversations with a couple who had attended a caregiver support group in which I was facilitating.  Emotionally, they shared how their parents had served faithfully in their church for over 40 years and now that they were homebound, the they felt as if they had been forgotten.  This tugged at my heart, as I remembered how vitally important the church was to my own aging parents and how much that care and compassion for our parents comforted us as adult children.

Members are aging quickly in virtually every faith community.  Adult children and their parents are struggling with the emotional, physical and spiritual toll that illness and the complications of aging creates.   As federal and state resources for the aging decline rapidly, needs are increasing even faster.  The cost of long term care across the spectrum is out of reach for a growing number of Americans.   Where does this leave the church and it’s role in the societal challenges facing all of us in our fast aging world?

I’ve witnessed how incredibly effective it can be when faith communities, local agencies, non-profits, service providers and volunteers come together to meet urgent needs of homebound elders, especially those needing food, housing, medical equipment, and services.  Support groups for caregivers, meal delivery, in-home and nursing home visitations,  companion ministries are all vital outreach efforts that can make an incredible difference in the lives of our elders, their families and our communities.

Strong leadership, education and champion volunteers are the thread of success in faith communities stepping up to meet these complex needs.  When implemented successfully,  everyone wins.  Active retirees find purpose, the younger generations of the church experience giving in action, and the church becomes an integral part within their surrounding community that helps agencies that desperately need more assistance.  Senior care providers can provide knowledge and assistance in navigating services and supporting caregiver programs.

I have provided caregiver education and support services to one church in particular for many years.  They took on the challenge over 8 years ago to start a day respite program for those living with dementia.  Thousands of volunteer hours from dedicated, passionate people have poured their lives into providing this no cost service to members of the community and their care givers.   It is one of the most successful respite ministries that I have seen.  I recently was with this group and was so moved by their consistent dedication.  When I asked what kept them going, it was without hesitation that they pointed to their group of elders and replied ” they  need us but not near as much as we need them. They brighten our days and give us back so much more than we are able to give to them.”

A perfect example of faith in action…

Pam Brandon is President/Founder of AGE-u-cate® Training Institute whose mission is to provide worldwide aging education and training that changes attitudes and actions to improve the lives of our elders.  She remains passionately dedicated to helping faith communities transform their aging adult and caregiver ministries through leadership training.