Jun 10, 2009
How do you find and retain a great caregiver for a loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease?
Many of our clients and client families struggle with disabilities and/or long-term diseases. The majority are impacted by the progressive dementia caused by Alzheimer’s Disease. Alzheimer’s often causes people to lose what my mother, Gloria, calls our “thin veneer of civilization.”
I spoke with Mike Rohan of All-Trust Home Care to seek answers as to how our AD clients can stop the problem of caregivers coming and going. Mike’s firm provides professional caregivers in the home environment, as well as assisted living and nursing home situations. He shared with me that his company used to have a constant problem in staffing for Alzheimer’s clients; caregivers would often quit or demand reassignment after only a week or two. He said, “People with AD can present challenging behaviors, such as screaming, repetitive questions, paranoia, non-cooperation, and even violent aggression. Very few caregivers have been trained in how to deal positively with these challenges.”
Mike decided to seek out a solution that would serve both his employees and the All-Trust clients. He signed up for a program offered through the Alzheimer’s Association called the “Best Friends Approach to Dementia.” Mike has also attended the “Train the Trainer” classes for the best friends approach. After completing the program, Mike began to teach his firm’s caregivers how to implement the Alzheimer’s care ideas included in the best friends approach. The results have been nothing short of revolutionary. It has worked out so well, that now All-Trust offers a training class every other Friday at their Westchester, Illinois office. The classes are open to their employees, client family members, and when there is space, members of the community.
Caregivers have responded very positively to the training. And they now have the tools that need to communicate effectively with their clients, despite the barriers of the clients’ dementia-related behaviors. The quality of life for both the caregivers and care receivers has been remarkably improved. In fact, Mike smiled broadly when he stated, “Before we implemented the best friends approach training, it was difficult to retain staff. But now I cannot think of anyone who has quit.”
For more information about the Best Friends Approach to Alzheimer’s Care, go to www.bestfriendsapproach.com/Models.html
For information about how your family or organization can benefit from the Alzheimer’s Association training, see their website. In addition, I’m sure that Mike would be glad to share with you some of his insights and experiences as he has implemented the program at his firm in Westchester, Illinois. Their contact information is:
All-Trust Home Care
10526 West Cermak Road – Suite 114
Westchester, IL 60153
“We would be lost without Law Elder Law! We walked in their doors over a year ago feeling lost and confused. With a father/father-in-law suffering from Alzheimer’s, we were overwhelmed by the Medicaid process, selling his home, protecting the assets he worked for his entire life, and finding him a memory-care facility that we could trust as his new home.
Law Elder Law helped with all of it! From the minute we walked out of our first meeting, we knew we (and he) were in good hands. We could not have possibly navigated all that had to be done without their expertise.”
A.M., Client of Law Hesselbaum and Law Elder Law