Tapping memories beneficial for dementia care
Six caregivers completed coursework in caring for clients with Alzheimer's disease or other dementias developed by Home Instead Senior Care and a panel of experts in geriatrics and gerontology.
The training focused on personalizing care to help keep seniors with dementias stay engaged in life and reduce behaviors that may lead to distress.
The caregivers participated in the three-hour interactive classes for four weeks, in which they took part in role-playing and hands-on exercises created for learning how to manage Alzheimer's behaviors.
"These exercises were specifically designed to help participants learn to interpret non-verbal communication and gain understanding of the needs of the Alzheimer's client," said Patricia Ellsworth, class facilitator and recruitment and retention manager for Home Instead Senior Care.
Caregivers learned specific techniques for stimulating clients' memories and capturing key elements of their life stories. The participants also learned subtle ways to enhance their interactions with the Alzheimer's clients and ways to encourage physical and social activities to help the client's interaction with others.
Catherine Roberts cares for a client with dementia, and said she already has seen a difference in how she and her client interact.
"When we're having a difficult day, I will bring up something from his past that I know he enjoyed, and you can see his expression change and behavior improve," she said.
The six caregivers earning their certificates include Catherine Roberts, Debbie Ramsey, Amy Skeel, Audrey Rodgers, Helen Mendoza, and Client Care Manager Caroline Pruett.
According to the Alzheimer's Association's 2011 Facts and Figures report, one in eight people 65 and older have Alzheimer's disease. In Yavapai County, an estimated 6,400 seniors suffer from Alzheimer's disease.
"This is a unique, one-of-a-kind, disease-specific training, and we are proud to provide it to our caregivers and staff," said Susan D. Abbott, franchise owner of Home Instead Senior Care in Yavapai County.
The agency will be offering a similar Alzheimer's course in October for family members and the general public. For more information, contact Home Instead Senior Care in Prescott at 928-708-9960.