Blog – Life: the Next Phase

Nursing homes: Quality care or profit center?

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Anyone who has had a spouse or a parent who required long-term care, has probably dealt with a nursing home. The top priority when choosing a nursing home for a loved one is quality of care.   Although according to the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), three key indicators of nursing home quality have shown improvement; i.e., better nursing staff levels, better clinical quality and fewer deficiencies in care that potentially harm residents, consumer complaints about nursing homes have increased. Between the years 2005 and 2014, complaints increased by about 21 per cent although the number of nursing homes has remained about the same. Continue reading Nursing homes: Quality care or profit center?

8 tips for communicating with someone with dementia

I recently got the opportunity to experience what it is like to have dementia and it was an eye opening experience to say the least. How did I get this opportunity? I took a Virtual Dementia Tour (VDT®), which is an evidence-based and scientifically proven method of building a greater understanding of dementia. It uses sensory tools based on research conducted by P.K. Beville, M.S., a specialist in geriatrics and the founder of Second Wind Dreams® (www.secondwind.org).

During the VDT I was verbally given a list of simple tasks to perform and then sent me on my way to complete them. At first they sounded easy and I thought I would have no problem performing them. But by the time I got to the third task I was starting to get confused as to what I was supposed to do. I also found myself getting frustrated because I wanted to do the tasks correctly but I knew that I was not doing it as well as I usually do. By the time I finished the third task, I had forgotten what the fourth task was, so I made one up and did that instead – of course that one was wrong.

The VDT probably took about 10 – 15 minutes and by the end I was exhausted, frustrated and had lost the confidence I had going into the VDT. And frankly a little scared of what it would be like to live that way. I also see why some people with dementia might want to withdraw socially. I would have been embarrassed if I had been in public. In addition to what I felt, the others who did the VDT with me felt anger and depression and experienced an increase in their heart rate. I now have a much better understanding of what dementia is like – which is the goal of the VDT.

I would like to share some tips that I learned for communicating with someone who has dementia by going through this experience: Continue reading 8 tips for communicating with someone with dementia