What it means to be ‘Dementia Aware’ in the medical community


Being a dementia caregiver can be both rewarding and frustrating, and sometimes both in the same day. It’s not uncommon for health care providers to have very little experience interacting with people diagnosed with dementia, which reinforces the importance of offering community-wide training opportunities to elevate care.

As a professional educator, I am here to help caregivers, family members and clinicians face these obstacles. When they provide care confidently and competently, it leads to more moments of fulfillment for both the caregiver and the one caring.

To illustrate the importance of interactions between those in the medical field and those in their care, let’s talk about a visit to the emergency room. While this isn’t an enjoyable activity for anyone, it becomes especially stressful for someone living with dementia and their family members. It can cause an escalated sense of anxiety and sometimes even bouts of delirium because of an inability to logically process what is going on around them and the roles of all of the medical care providers helping them. Even simple procedures like administering shots or a blood pressure reading can become very scary when someone doesn’t understand why they are being touched by people they don’t know.

While emergency room visits aren’t necessarily a common occurrence, it’s even more important that the caregivers who interact with them on a daily basis know how to enhance the lives and wellbeing of those with dementia. This includes things like understanding their life story to facilitate reminiscent therapy and conversation, finding out which foods and drinks they enjoy to be sure they enjoy them, or finding out which anti-psychotic or sedatives they are taking to ensure they aren’t overprescribed, as they often are.

I am frequently met with hesitation by organizations on why training might not be right for their staff: time constraints, task-oriented approaches to care, and a general lack of knowledge about dementia. These are all typical thought processes that, unfortunately, also put their patients at risk as barriers to proper training. That is why my online training formats offers convenient, interactive educational approaches that will empower anyone to confidently provide a high standard of dementia care.

Raising awareness about dementia is everyone’s responsibility. It extends far beyond just clinics, hospitals, nursing schools and hospital organizations. We can all contribute to raising dementia awareness in our communities. Please join me in becoming Dementia Aware.

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