Can you picture this scene? You are enjoying lunch in a local Minneapolis cafe and an older couple is seated at the next table. The waitress is taking their order and the conversation becomes very awkward because the elderly man is having trouble asking about the menu. He doesn’t seem to remember exactly what he wants to ask or forgets the word he’s trying to use. You can see the frustration and impatience building between the older gentleman and the waitress who isn’t understanding him. Conversations and customer interactions of this type happen quite often when Alzheimer’s disease is involved, but it shouldn’t have to.
With the lack of education and misunderstandings about Alzheimer’s disease – which eventually impacts thinking, speaking, and behavior – many caregivers and their loved ones would rather not fight the battle of dealing with the public. Home Instead Senior Care is hoping to change this with their public education program Alzheimer’s Friendly Business. This program aims to offer training to the businesses in your local community which will help educate those serving customers with Alzheimer’s and related dementias and their caregivers, and ultimately ease the daunting task they feel when trying to complete daily routine tasks like banking, shopping, or attending appointments.
Watch us train Liberty Oxygen & Medical Equipment in this segment on Kare 11 News!
The Alzheimer’s Association reports that 1 in 9 Americans 65 years and older have Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. The number of individuals aged 65 and older who currently have or will have Alzheimer’s disease is projected to increase from 5.1 million in 2010 to 13.8 million by the year 2050. These numbers are staggering and cannot be ignored.
According to research conducted by Home Instead, 74% of surveyed caregivers for individuals with a dementia illness report they and their loved ones have become more isolated as a result of the disease. The results also show that 85% of the seniors in the survey are feeling a reduced quality of life. The feeling of isolation is a significant issue facing family caregivers and their loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia. The unpredictable nature of the disease is one of the biggest obstacles to going out in public.
Some common behavioral symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include:
- Difficulty remembering names and recent events
- Seeming depressed and disinterested
- Difficulty completing routine tasks and problem solving
- Repeatedly asking questions
- Easily agitated or frustrated
- Often wandering or lost
- Difficulty keeping track of items or unable to retrace steps
- Inability to follow directions
- Having problems communicating
How can you be prepared to assist a person with Alzheimer’s?
- Be patient, flexible and understanding
- Remain calm
- Stay positive
- Treat the person with dignity and respect
- Avoid arguing or embarrassing the person
- Speak calmly, slowly and offer few options
When interacting with a person you believe struggles with dementia it’s helpful to use a comforting voice, approach the customer slowly and introduce yourself, avoid interrupting the person and be patient. These, and other helpful tips, are just one part of the free training Home Instead is offering to local businesses that are interested in partnering with us. Our local Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis office can provide the training to your employees, training management in a “train the trainer” approach or online. It can be conducted in just 30 minutes and, once completed, your business will receive a certificate and materials you can use to show you are an Alzheimer’s Friendly Business. This certification lasts for 2 years.
Together we can work to achieve the goal of educating those serving customers living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, along with their family caregivers, and ease the challenges they face when completing routine tasks within their community.
So, spread the word! Join us and help make your business Alzheimer’s friendly by learning simple techniques to ensure customers living with Alzheimer’s or other dementias are treated with compassion and respect. With Home Instead’s thoughtful and thorough training program, local businesses can help break through the misconceptions of Alzheimer’s and ease the challenges of going into the community for those customers and their caregivers. To start the process of becoming an Alzheimer’s Friendly Business, call our office today at 763-544-5988. Or, if you’re a caregiver for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, be sure to tell the businesses you frequent about the Home Instead Senior Care network’s Alzheimer’s Friendly Business℠ program.