Tag: best dementia care Rittenhouse

Lakeya meets with PAC Trainer at our site in Philadelphia

NursePartners’ Senior Recruiter, Lakeya Dula, completes her training to become a PAC certified dementia coach.  After on site training in Baltimore with Teepa Snow, Rebekah Wilson visited us at the NursePartners office in Philadelphia.  Rebekah served as Lakeya’s mentor throughout these past 8 weeks.  Lakeya and Rebekah used the PAC materials and tools from the course to increase Lakeya’s confidence in becoming an effective coach to our carepartners.

The Positive Approach to Care (PAC) methodology was created by Teepa Snow in response to the shortcomings of other dementia progression models.  Other models seemed to focus on the cognitive decline, versus emphasizing what the person could still do.  Each in the last stage (Pearl), a person still exists behind the ugly façade of the disease.  Teepa sought to teach others how to connect before providing care, which is the bedrock of any effective carepartner relationship.

As a dementia coach, Lakeya plays a fundamental role in training each carepartner before they begin working with us.  Lakeya leads a dementia workshop where we act out various difficult situations with our carepartners.  NursePartners’ admin takes on the role of our clients and the carepartners show us how they would respond in a given situation.  Carepartners consent to being video recorded.  This allows them to watch their own interaction later, from the view of the client.  This activity helps them break preconceived conceptions and to adapt their own care approaches to become more effective carepartners.

During this workshop, carepartners learn about the GEM levels, the Positive Physical Approach to Care, and receive a general overview of dementia.  Afterwards, carepartners must complete additional training in order to become eligible to work with any of our clients living with dementia.

Lakeya is the third member of the NursePartners administrative team to complete a certification with Teepa Snow.  Angela Geiger embraced the methodology as the basis to create the GEM division in 2012.  She became certified as the company’s PAC dementia trainer in additional to another national certification as a dementia practitioner.  Peter Abraldes developed the dementia program with Angela in 2016 to make this training a requirement for any carepartner working with a client living with dementia.  At this time, all other admin members were trained as well.  This prepared us to respond to any issue arising from clients, family members of clients, or carepartners.

NursePartners also provides training to family members and other organizations as requested.  We have seem the effectiveness of this approach in the field and always glad to help others provide more effective care to their loved ones or clients.

dementia training Philadelphia, dementia care Philadelphia,

dementia coach Philadelphia, best care Philadelphia
Lakeya received her PAC certified dementia coach certificate!

 

How do you know it’s time to start home care services?

The holidays are coming!  Sometimes with our own busy lives, time passes between each visit to our parents and other older relatives.  At a certain point, home care services can best support them, regardless of if they live at home or in a community.

When is it time to begin home care services?  It is important to remember that home care services can increase gradually.  NursePartners believes a minimum of three, four-hour assignments per week is the best way to start.  This allows the carepartner team time to establish a relationship with your loved one. All carepartners are trained to connect first.  A developed relationship is crucial for providing optimum care.

NursePartners also supports clients 24/7 in their homes, assisted living communities, and nursing homes.

But how do you know it is time to begin services?  When we notice some of the following signs, it may indicate that it is time to start.  Remember, NursePartners provides a health and wellness assessment at no cost before the initiation of services.

We welcome you to take this 20-question quiz to determine if it is time for home care services.  If you score a 25% or higher, it is probably time to schedule a no cost assessment.  All answers are confidential and will not be used for marketing purposes.

If you are still in doubt, give us a call at 610-323-9800.  All calls are answered by a real member of our administrative team.  We do not close at 5pm or on holidays.  NursePartners is a privately-owned company, founded and operated by a registered nurse and certified dementia practitioner.  We have been serving older adults in the Philadelphia area since 2002.

home care Philadelphia, dementia care Philadelphia

Carepartners work through role play scenarios with dementia coaches and practitioners

NursePartners practices the Positive Physical Approach to CareTM as developed by Teepa Snow and her team.  Each client living with dementia is classified by a GEM stone.  The characteristics of these GEM stones, along with the client’s personality and unique life experiences, dictate our approach.

All carepartners are trained to connect before providing care.  Simply put, we find this the most effective method.  Too often, carepartners push forth their agenda without enough emphasis on how it is affecting the client.  The mentality is to complete the “to do” list as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, older adults are not always moving at our speed.  If they are living with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, the situation becomes even more complicated.  The older adult may not realize what we are trying to do, even though these actions are intended to assist them.  When we rush to complete tasks, this can lead to unfavorable outcomes.  If we provide care before connecting, this can increase anxiety, depression, or lead to aggression.

All carepartners are trained in the Positive Physical Approach to CareTM methodology.  During orientation, carepartners work with dementia coaches and practitioners as they role play challenging scenarios.  We want carepartners to be prepared for all types of situations.

Carepartners are trained to put their agenda away and go with the flow.  They focus on connecting before rushing to provide care.  This simple investment of time pays dividends in the long run as a meaningful relationship is developed between the carepartner and the client.  The result is that the client becomes more receptive to receiving care.

In this video, Denise encounters a client actor (dementia coach) who is non-verbal and fixated on a task.  Instead of demanding that the client focus on her, she engages him in his task first.  She continues to have a conversation, even though he does not respond to her.

When it is time to perform the caregiving task, Denise is patient as the client stands up.  She respects his independence and does not rush to do everything for him.  Denise helps explain how to get up and helps stabilize his gait during the process.

As he stands, she lightens the mood with movement and rhythm.  Music and rhythm are deeply engrained in our brains and is one of the best ways to connect with someone living with dementia.  Carepartners that employ this preserved skill are more likely to succeed than those who do not.

Would you like to learn more about GEM care services or want to join our team?  Call us today at 610-323-9800.

Click to the link to see the full video:

Denise demonstrates the Positive Physical Approach to Care

 

Philadelphia dementia care, Philadelphia home care, best home care Philadelphia
Denise uses the Positive Physical Approach to Care to guide non-verbal client

Patience when caring for someone living with dementia

Patience is crucial when caring for someone living with dementia.  Often times the burden of care falls uneven on a spouse or a child who lives close to their parents.  It takes us a while, if at all, to realize that it takes more than one person to support another living with dementia.

When an interaction is not going as planned, we suggest the following steps:

 

best home care Philadelphia

1.) Step Back: It is okay to not have an immediate response.  Think before you react and ensure your facial and body language matches your words.  We want to make sure we are engaging visual stimuli before offering a verbal message.  As Teepa Snow suggests, engage the senses by offering cues in the following sequence: visual, verbal, touch.

If the person living with dementia is doing an undesirable activity, consider if the activity is dangerous to them or others.  If it is not, reassess the urgency of change.  Could this be a moment for connection?

 

2.) Respond instead of Reacting: A thorough response requires doing the analysis to see why we seek to change the current behavior.  Are we imposing our logic on their situation?  Could it be that we are not taking the time to enter their reality?  This can be a mentally draining task and is one of the reasons why caregivers become frustrated with the person entrusted in their care.

Sometimes we are not trying to correct a behavior, but rather a narrative.  A person living with dementia might be time traveling or experiencing a hallucination.  Instead of trying to reorient them to reality, take that time to ask them questions about their past or their visions.  Often times we can find our best moments of connection by patiently requesting that they tell us more.

Throughout our response, we want to incorporate the art of substitution before subtraction.  If we want to remove something from their hands, offer them something else to hold first.  If we want to free them from a hallucination, ask more questions.  Often times they will reach a point where their mind no longer can describe the often that does not exist.

 

3.) Make plans, but expect them to change: Put your agenda in your back pocket.  It is often very difficult for non-caregivers to understand why it takes so long to accomplish the activities of daily living.  Why does it take an hour to take a shower?  Why does it take two sittings to finish a meal?

Our approach matters, and unlike caring for a child, an older adult has lived a long life and is used to be being treated with dignity and respect.  Although their memories may have faded, these feelings of pride are deeply engrained.  We need to go with their flow, not the other way around.  We need to take extra measures that may not seem “logical” in order to satisfy their emotional needs.

A classic example of this would be wrapping a towel around the care recipient in the shower.  Although this might make the cleaning process more challenging, it allows the person being showered to feel less exposed to caregiver.

 

4.) Figure out what you can and cannot control:   We need to remember that activities are a means to connect with the person living with dementia.  If we are playing a known game, it is okay to throw out the rules.  For example, instead of playing a card game, why not sort the deck?  As the disease progresses, your loved one might derive more comfort from holding items versus sorting them.  This is okay.  We are learning to adapt to their changing senses and using these to find new ways to say hello.  If you are unfamiliar with GEM levels, learn more here.

Here are some ideas for activities for someone living with dementia.  At NursePartners, we provide activity baskets to our clients living with dementia.  These typically include coloring, puzzles, and cards.  Activities are introduced and rotated out as interests or abilities change.

 

5.) Take care of yourself: We impose our logic on the person living with dementia, but fail to apply it to ourselves.  No matter how much help you have, you also need a break!  Caring for a person living with dementia can be a daunting task.  If you are emotionally drained or physically inept to perform your role, you become less helpful for the person needing your care.  It is not selfish, but rather essential, to take time to enjoy your life and keep yourself healthy.  

Please ask us for more support resources.  NursePartners is a founding member of the National Aging in Place Council of Philadelphia.  We invest our time in this organization in order to comfortably refer you to resources in our community, some of which are free.

 

This article was inspired by Teepa Snow and a post by AgingCare.com.

 

 

 

 

 

What is Alzheimer’s disease?

The basics about Alzheimer’s disease


What is Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, degenerative disorder that attacks the brain’s nerve cells (neurons) resulting in loss of memory, thinking and language skills, and behavioral changes.

 

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia.

Dementia is a general term for memory loss and other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases.

 

Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging.

Although it is true that increasing age is associated with increased rates of the disease development, Alzheimer’s is not just a disease of old age.  Individuals in their 40s and 50s can also develop dementia.

 

Alzheimer’s worsens over time.

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, where dementia symptoms gradually worsen over a number of years. In its early stages, memory loss is mild, but with late-stage Alzheimer’s, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment. Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.  Alzheimer’s disease kills more than breast and prostate cancer combined.  At the time of death, one of three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. Those with Alzheimer’s live an average of eight years after their symptoms become noticeable to others, but survival can range from four to 20 years, depending on age and other health conditions.

 

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease.

Since there is no known cure or treatment for this disease, it is important to use the right approach to care.  The right approach can slow the worsening of symptoms and improve the quality of life of those living with dementia.