At Assisting Hands, we have a passion for home care. We are always searching for creative ways to better serve YOU. One of those ways is always innovating and enriching our approach to care by learning as much as we can. As we gain more knowledge we can become better and better at serving our community.
An important part of our Assisting Hands community is folks with Alzheimer’s and Dementia of all kinds. Providing dementia care is not always a straightforward or intuitive type of care! It is complex and highly individual from person to person. That is why we were so excited to have every member of our front line office team attend an Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Care Seminar given by the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners (NCCDP) in order to become Certified Dementia Practitioners!
To continue to serve you, we all attended the NCCDP Training on different days. Although we each took the same course, the stories each of our individual trainers had really brought it to life. Experience is truly the best teacher for working with someone who has dementia. We were fortunate to hear the stories of such seasoned teachers. Good stories can be some of the best reminders when you are learning, and wonderful inspiration in the field.
We would love to share with you some of our stories and what we learned and will take with us from the NCCDP Training:
I felt very grateful to have our whole team on board with this idea. NCCDP offered a perfect opportunity to office staff by hosting all the courses online during the shelter-in-place order. More and more families in the Arlington Heights area are touched by dementia in some way every moment of every day. I wanted to make sure that whoever answers the phone or provides assistance on any given day or time has a strong background in dementia care. Thank you to NCCDP for helping to teach us patience, understanding, and compassion for those dear clients and their families!
My trainer for the Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Care Seminar was very experienced personally and professionally with dementia care, so she had many illustrative anecdotes that really stuck with me and served as wonderful examples. She has worked with people with dementia since the 1970s and 80s and she has seen amazing progress in the field in that time! The most important change these days, that has come with new knowledge about Alzheimer’s and Dementia, is the focus on providing Person-Centered Care.
Person-Centered Care is providing care to someone in a respectful and thoughtful way that accounts for their safety and health while still focusing on their personal and unique wants and needs. It’s all about making people feel respected and cared for, at every changing stage of abilities and communication abilities.
I learned in the absence of clear communication from someone with dementia, providing Person-Centered Care is often about being a detective! Putting together the puzzle pieces of history and personality from families and also by noticing current behavior to find out what is easiest and most comfortable for them.
Perhaps someone who was in the Navy may be more able to find the bathroom if it is labeled “Head” as opposed to “Bathroom.” As my trainer said many times, sometimes the most important thing is making someone’s environment look right and feel right. What little changes can be made to keep someone with dementia safe while still allowing their environment to look as familiar as possible to ensure their success?
If we change the way we are thinking, we can sometimes find innovative ways to communicate and also help our clients with dementia to do as much as they are able. Feeling accomplished and respected is important for everyone, including people at every different stage of dementia. For example, asking someone their opinion is a wonderful and quick way to engage them while also giving them immediate respect. To ask someone their opinion is to say, “I value what you have to say.”
One final quick tip I learned from the class: It could potentially take someone with dementia 60 to 90 seconds to hear, process and respond to a question. Try patiently waiting for a response and you may get one!
Being in this industry for over 10 years, I have a lot of knowledge about dementia and it was very helpful to learn different resources to use. I enjoyed speaking with other professionals to compare experiences and share ideas. Also, I learned a great deal about dementia and a wide range of dementia diseases that I was unaware of prior to this course. As Case Manager for Assisting Hands, this course will help me to train the employees how to care for clients with dementia by learning about the clients and building caring relationships that cater to individuals’ abilities, needs and preferences. I will be able to provide In-Service to the staff and clients about different perspectives of dementia. I am very passionate and excited to share my knowledge and improve the lives of those who are suffering from Dementia.
As a case coordinator, I will be able to share my experience based on what I learned and I can teach all caregivers things that will be useful to each client and how to communicate via different tacticals and methods. There is so much to learn from this incurable disease and so many ways that we can support. I am so happy I will be able to somehow provide relief to those who need our assistance.
The Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Care Seminar was extremely beneficial to all who are in the helping professions.
The seminar focused on the diseases that cause irreversible Dementia symptoms such as loss of memory and other mental abilities that affect daily life, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy Body disease, Vascular dementia, and Huntington’s Disease.
Dementia Care Best Practices
- A valuable technique when relating to someone with memory loss is to practice validating their conversations by entering in with them in the moment. Thread their story and see where it goes; ask questions and empathize with the emotions they are experiencing at that moment.
- As dementia progresses, the client may lose interest in eating and the caregiver needs to try to coax the person into trying the food. But when each course is served consistently on a different color of plate, it may pique the interest of the food and provides a constant reminder of what type of food is being served. For instance, fruit will always be on a small blue plate. The main course on a larger yellow plate, and red plate for sweets and snacks. It is also helpful to play music when meal time begins using the same favorite song each time.
There was a lot of information, but these were some of the highlights to me.
Have questions about the dementia care training or about our dementia care services? Give us a call at 847-462-4402 for answers, or to schedule a free consultation to determine if dementia care is a good fit for your loved one. We proudly serve Arlington Heights, Wheeling, Mt. Prospect, Prospect Heights, and Des Plaines, IL.