Tag Archives: Training

Improving Cultural Competence in Senior Care Through Training

The increasing diversity of the U.S. and other nations offers opportunities and challenges for senior care  care providers, health care systems, and policy makers to create and deliver services to culturally diverse patients and to train and increasingly culturally diverse workforce. Cultural competence refers to an ability to interact effectively with people of different cultures. Cultural competence comprises four components: (a) awareness of one’s own cultural worldview, (b) attitude towards cultural differences, (c) knowledge of different cultural practices and worldviews, and (d) cross-cultural skills.   Developing cultural competence through training can result  in a better ability to understand, communicate with, and effectively interact with people across cultures and can lead to a 15% decrease in miscommunication.  In senior care, this communications training can significantly improve outcomes, especially in caring for those with dementias, chronic illness, pain and at end-of-life.

Training the workforce on understanding cultural issues that are relevant to better understanding patient and family values and needs will.  Cultural competence enhances the ability of providers and organizations to effectively deliver health care services that meet the social, cultural, and linguistic needs of patients. A culturally competent health care system can help improve health outcomes and quality of care, and can contribute to the elimination of racial and ethnic health disparities. Examples of strategies to move the health care system towards these goals include providing relevant training on cultural competence and cross-cultural issues to senior care and health professionals and creating policies that reduce barriers to patient/resident care.

Cultural competence training methods can enhance transparency between language, values, beliefs, and cultural differences. Training in cultural competence often includes careful consideration of how best to approach people’s various forms of diversity. This new found awareness oftentimes allows people to better establish  equity in their environments and enhances interrelationships between one another for increased productivity levels.

Pam Brandon is President/Founder of AGE-u-cate Training Institute, whose mission is to develop and deliver aging and dementia training to professional and family caregivers.  

www.AGEucate.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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s Tell it Like it Is… A Public Health Crisis is Upon Us

What Public Health Crisis?   Maybe these statistics from the Alzheimer’s Association will remind us, not of what’s coming but what is upon us:

Someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s every 66 seconds. Today, an estimated 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, including approximately 200,000 under the age of 65. One in nine people over 65 have Alzheimer’s, and one in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia

The Baby Boom Generation is on track to become Generation Alzheimer’s, as more than 28 million members are expected to develop the disease. Barring a treatment or breakthrough, millions of retired Americans will either have the disease or end up caring for someone who does.

Alzheimer’s is America’s most expensive disease, costing the country $236 billion a year. There are 15 million Americans who care for a family member or friend with Alzheimer’s or other dementia. Family caregivers on average spend more than $5,000 a year of their own money caring for someone with Alzheimer’s.

What’s my point for reiterating these grim statistics?  Because leaders need to be accelerating and prioritizing quality dementia training for their clinicians, care staff, students, social workers, volunteers, physicians and anyone who works with the aging population.  Elder care is fast becoming about dementia care.

Quality dementia training does not sit on shelves catching dust.  Instead it should be:

  • Innovative
  • Practical
  • Feasible

It should provide tools that can be implemented that will result in improved outcomes for those who live in, work and visit your organization.  And lastly it should come with a strong support component so that your training is sustainable.

Time for leaders to look outside the box, because much of what has been IN the box has not been working.  We’re excited to be a part of finding solutions for the challenges now and in the years to come.

 www.AGEucate.com