There are many home care companies in Australia, some who support their staff to undertake dementia-related education. But Senior Helpers is the only home care company that has training and resources developed with the expertise of Teepa Snow OT, PAC®. This is important because Senior Helpers’ Senior Gems® program of training for our support staff, skills them to understand the changes that a person experiences when they have developed Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
Our staff understand the physical changes that occur with the development of dementia, how changes to vision reduces the world of the person with the disease. They know how to compensate for this so that the person with a reduced visual field remains safe. Our staff understand how memory loss can lead to issues with personal hygiene, forgetting to eat or believing they have taken their routine medications. All of these can lead to becoming unsafe at home, yet remaining at home increases feelings of security in a world that is changing.
Senior Helpers understands that it is not just the person who is dealing with the associated changes. The whole family is also living with the changes and response to the disease. This is why Senior Helpers has developed resources to support families to understand and respond more positively with their loved relative or partner. With information and some guided strategies, family members can also become more competent as care partners when our staff are not in the home.
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia affects the whole community. In the early stages of the disease, people experiencing the changes of the disease are driving, shopping, working and living amongst us all in the wider community. It is when they get stressed, make mistakes or poor judgement calls that they come to the notice of the wider community. For the individual, these errors are humiliating and frightening. As a community, we need to be aware of our reactions and offer calm guidance, not judgement or stigmatise the person.
Senior Helpers offices who have achieved the status of Senior Gems Approved, offer community workshops to inform, skill participants who will then be better prepared to support friends, family and others in their community who develop Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.