Recently, CareFinders launched a new Dementia training program out of our Marlboro office. This is extra training for CHHA’s who want to better assist our patients on the dementia/Alzheimers spectrum.
The program is under the direction of Amy Willner. Prior to joining CareFinders, Amy was the Executive Director at one of the foremost Memory Loss Assisted Living Facilities in New Jersey.
Here is a recent interview with Amy about dementia care:
Q. Tell us about this new Dementia Training Program.
A. This is enhanced training for our Certified Home Health Aides. We provide tips for the difficult times that may occur when caring for a client with memory impairment. Sundowning, wandering and the loss of words are just a few of the topics discussed in this group.
Q. What’s the most important thing to know about people with dementia?
A. Dementia is an illness. The people suffering from this are not in control of their memory loss.
Q. How is caring for someone who has dementia different than caring for someone who does not.
A. It requires a slower pace, complete eye contact when talking, patience…and lots of it. Remember they have had a full life, so treat them with the dignity and respect they deserve. This sometimes gets forgotten since they exhibit child-like behaviors.
Also, do not correct them. If they think it’s 1960 and they are looking for their “child,” go where they are and don’t try to re-orient to today. It will just bring possible sadness, enhanced confusion – and maybe even challenging behaviors
Q. What are the 2-3 most important things for a caregiver to do for dementia patients?
A. Be kind. Body language should be open and positive. Your attitude can make all the difference in having a successful day or a bad day.
Q. What is a memory moment bag?
A. It’s a tool we use to create moments of engagement, activities with a purpose and redirection during moments of sun-downing.
The bags contain Items that lead to activities, like adult coloring, yarn rolling, sorting of poker chips or towel folding.
They also include a doll or stuffed animal, soothing items which help the patients feel comfortable and happy. This is important for difficult times of day.
Q. How do you suggest dealing with the family of a patient with dementia?
A. Families want to know that their loved one is not sitting all day watching TV or sleeping. Offer up a snippet of what you did during the day. Spare them some of the gory details of an unpleasant moment; they live this and do not need to hear it over and over again. Pictures speak volumes. If your client is engaged in singing, coloring, baby coddling…let them know they are having happy moments throughout the day in your care.
Q. Why is CareFinders offering this additional training to their aides?
A. It is part of our philosophy of offering complete, on-going and seamless care to patients. We call this “Total Care.”