Welcome to Memory Care Support’s 
August 2016 newsletter!

Dementia Care Isn't What it Used to Be... And That's a good Thing!... Part 1

There is a powerful upwelling from around the country... really it's an international movement... to change how support and care is offered to those living with dementia.  Cracks are appearing in the walls of those places that have been warehousing people in dreary, life-draining institutions.

There are several factors influencing the changes in dementia care:

  1. Everyone knows someone with dementia.  Prominent people we know and recognize are stepping forward and disclosing their diagnosis, not hiding it from the public and with over 7 million people in the US living with some type of dementia, almost every family is affected.
  2. Medical science is making it possible to diagnose dementia in the very early stages.  When I'm at a social gathering and identify that I'm a nurse practitioner specializing in geriatrics and dementia care, someone always introduces them self and tells me they have just been recently diagnosed.  People used to say, "I wouldn't want to know," but now people are seeking out early diagnosis so they can participate in planning for their future.
  3. People who are affected by dementia want to be involved in decisions and influencing policies.  "Nothing about me without me" is the mantra.  "Don't talk about me as if I'm not here," and "I'm the same person I always was" are heard recurrently.  People diagnosed with dementia are pushing the conversation forward and professionals are learning from them.
  4. Emphasis is on living with dementia.  Living with purpose and meaning and relationships.  Dementia is being considered a chronic condition and focus is switching from losses and inabilities to retained talents and skills.  A great example is a poetry group I recently attended in a senior day-care center.  Most of the participants were affected by dementia and the free-flow of ideas and rhymes and phrases made for laughter, a few tears and a completed poem that would be sent to the local newspaper for potential publication.
  5. It's becoming unacceptable to isolate people with dementia.  Emphasis is on dementia-safe communities where people can be integrated into activities and events throughout the larger community.  Alzheimer's Cafe's and Meet-ups for people newly diagnosed are happening across the country.  And Senior Living communities are becoming more inclusive, designed to not sequester residents with dementia into a separate unit.
  6. The customer/consumer (the person affected by dementia and their family members) are becoming more knowledgeable and sophisticated.  As they shop for choices for care, they are expecting something more than "safe and comfortable".  One private client of mine went to visit a local Assisted Living community as a potential future resident for her husband who is affected by Alzheimer's disease.  She came back discouraged saying that there was more emphasis on recliner chairs and big screen TV's than any programming to stimulate and sustain abilities.  "My husband is not ready for a recliner chair, he still likes to be active and try new things," she said.  Currently he volunteers at the local food pantry, attends a Men's support group and participates in a walking club.  Those events add purpose and focus on his ability to contribute.  Sadly, the Memory Care programs at the Assisted Living locations did not have anything comparable  except a pre-printed "Activities Calendar" on the wall.  It's time to change - The gauntlet has been thrown down - let's think outside the box and provide environments that offer purpose, choice and well-being...places where you and I would choose to live!

My next newsletter will be Part 2 about the changes that are happening in dementia care. Have a great day!

If you work in Assisted Living and want
To make your dementia care program even better,
Or if you need assistance in
Planning care for a loved one,
E-mail or call me for a free consultation.

Anne Ellett, N.P., M.S.N.
AANC Certified Gerontological Nurse
Founder, Executive Director - Memory Care Support
Ph. 949 933-6201

Anne Ellett

Dementia Care Specialist AANC Certified Gerontological Nurse
Founder, Executive Director

Memory Care Support
People Are Watching

The Dementia Action Alliance (DAA) is a coalition of people focused on changing the status quo for people living with dementia.  If you are interested in joining the dialogue regarding change, you can visit their website at:  The DAA has a video entitled: Person-Centered Matters; Making Life Better for Someone Living With Dementia.  Click here to watch this powerful video that describes the lives of five people affected by dementia and the difference that person centered care makes for them.
What Can Give You Longer Life and Better Brain Function?

Reading a book!  A recent study by Yale University showed that reading improves cognition and adds to longevity.  Researchers followed adult readers for 12 years and found that those who read for more than 3.5 hours a week, had a 20% increase in longevity.  And those who read books (as opposed to just articles and on-line blogs) had an even greater increase in longevity and cognition.  Becoming involved in the plot of a book and remembering the different characters gives our brain a good workout!  I can recommend a beautiful book I recently read, All The Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr.  You'll be sad when you finally finish this book.
7 Essentials of Good Care:
We all deserve GOOD CARE. Whether you or your loved one affected by dementia are receiving care in a private home or an assisted living community, there are seven essential elements that I believe are crucial for providing good quality of life.

Essential #1 Dignity
Essential #2 Loving and Compassionate Relationships
Essential #3 Stimulating and Age-Appropriate Activities
Essential #4 Choices
Essential #5 Safety
Essential #6 Attentive Medical Care
Essential #7 End of Life Planning and Support

You can read more information here about these 7 Essentials.
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