Boosting Brain Health: Insights from Brain Awareness Month, Alzheimer's Association, and Blue Zones

Posted by Pam Brandon on Jun 13, 2024 11:15:00 AM

June is Brain Awareness Month, spearheaded by the Alzheimer's Association, and it's a crucial time to focus on maintaining and improving brain health. Understanding how to keep our brains healthy can help reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's. Integrating knowledge from research, global health phenomena like the Blue Zones, and resources from the Alzheimer's Association can provide us with a holistic approach to brain wellness.

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Topics: Alzheimer's disease, Aging Well, #DementiaCommunityEducation

Improving Client Service for Individuals with Dementia: Training Tips for Financial Institutions

Posted by Pam Brandon on Jun 13, 2024 11:15:00 AM


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Topics: workforce training, #Dementia Capable System, #DementiaAwareness

Navigating the Turbulence: How to Make Airports Age and Dementia Friendly Amid Travel Chaos

Posted by Pam Brandon on Jun 6, 2024 11:15:00 AM

Air travel is often riddled with unexpected challenges, and today’s story is no exception. As someone who thrives on learning by doing, I find myself in the midst of one of the most memorable travel misadventures of my life. It's no secret that flight delays have become increasingly common. If you’re fortunate enough to experience a flight that departs and arrives on time, without lost baggage or discomfort, consider yourself luck, right?

This particular journey was anything but smooth. Just ten minutes before our scheduled boarding, the gate agent announced that our flight crew was still en route from the hotel, leading to an initial delay. Her suggestion to go find a restaurant for breakfast, take a walk, or shop should have been a clue about the long wait ahead.  I noted her particular words: it was not grab breakfast - it was rather "go find a restaurant and have breakfast" - big difference in time!  

Then we Moved to the Automated Updates...

As time ticked by, automated updates pushed our departure time by 30-minute increments, extending our delay to an excruciating 6.5 hours without any human announcements. The frustration among passengers was palpable as we felt trapped in a relentless cycle of hope and disappointment.

Time to Help Vulnerable Passengers...

Being an observant person and working in the dementia space, I was particularly aware of the number of elderly passengers traveling alone or with companions. One elderly gentleman, accompanied by a very young boy, lost track of his companion after a restroom visit. I quickly reunited them, highlighting the vulnerability of elderly travelers in such stressful situations.

Emotional Toll on Caregivers was Growing...

Three hours into the delay, I noticed a couple becoming increasingly distressed. The husband, struggling with mobility, had an accident while attempting to stand. His wife, visibly shaken, asked me to watch their bags while she assisted him. She confided that he was battling Parkinson's disease and his condition was worsening. This emotional moment underscored the significant challenges faced by caregivers during travel delays.

Anxiety and Confusion Sets In...

Another elderly woman, traveling alone, appeared confused and anxious. A kind young man offered to help, and she asked him to call her daughter. Her distress was evident, mirroring the unease felt by many older passengers who were not only physically uncomfortable but also emotionally overwhelmed.

Tensions Grow with No Human Updates...

Over five hours into the delay, passengers were sprawled across the floor, eyes glued to their screens for the next update. Many older adults, likely unfamiliar with the airline's app, remained uninformed unless they squinted at the sparsely placed, hard-to-read departure signs. While some passengers tried to make the best of the situation by chatting or reading, the delay was a significant source of stress and discomfort for many.

Time to Call It...

By this point, my nerves were frayed. Realizing that even if the plane eventually departed, I would arrive at my destination very late and miss important meetings, I decided to prioritize my well-being and canceled my flight. It was a tough decision, but necessary under the circumstances. Just an hour after leaving the airport, the flight was officially canceled, 7.5 hours after the scheduled departure.

What is the Solution?  

Creating age and dementia-friendly airports involves a multifaceted approach that focuses on accessibility, staff training, clear communication, and supportive infrastructure. Here are key steps airports can take to achieve this:

1. Physical Accessibility Enhancements

  • Clear Signage: Use large, high-contrast, easy-to-read signs with universal symbols.
  • Seating Areas: Provide ample seating with armrests throughout the airport, especially near gates and in waiting areas.
  • Lighting: Ensure good lighting to reduce shadows and glare, which can be disorienting.
  • Paths and Walkways: Ensure smooth, non-slip surfaces and clear, obstacle-free pathways.
  • Restrooms: Make restrooms accessible with clear signage, adequate space for mobility aids, and features such as grab bars and emergency call buttons.

2. Staff Training and Awareness

  • Dementia Training: Train staff to recognize signs of dementia and respond with patience and understanding.
  • Communication Skills: Equip staff with techniques to communicate effectively with older adults and those with cognitive impairments.
  • Customer Service: Develop protocols for assisting passengers who may appear confused or lost.

3. Assistance Programs

  • Meet and Assist Services: Offer dedicated assistance services for older adults and people with dementia, including escort services from curb to gate.
  • Quiet Areas: Provide quiet, low-stimulation areas where passengers can rest away from the hustle and bustle of the airport.
  • Sensory Rooms: Create sensory rooms with calming environments to help reduce anxiety.

4. Information and Communication

  • Clear Announcements: Use clear, concise, and audible public announcements.
  • Accessible Information: Provide information in various formats (large print, braille, audio) and multiple languages.
  • Digital Assistance: Implement easy-to-use digital kiosks with touch screens that have voice assistance and high-contrast displays.

5. Safety and Security

  • Emergency Protocols: Ensure emergency procedures consider the needs of older adults and those with dementia.
  • Identification Systems: Implement discreet identification systems (like bracelets or lanyards) for travelers with dementia to alert staff if they need extra assistance.
  • Lost Passenger Protocols: Develop and train staff on protocols for quickly and compassionately assisting lost passengers.

6. Partnerships and Community Engagement

  • Collaborate with Dementia Organizations: Work with local and national dementia organizations to develop best practices and training programs.
  • Feedback Mechanisms: Create channels for feedback from older adults and those with dementia, their families, and caregivers to continuously improve services.

7. Technology and Innovation

  • Navigation Aids: Implement wayfinding apps designed for those with cognitive impairments, offering step-by-step navigation through the airport.
  • Personalized Assistance Apps: Develop or utilize apps that provide personalized assistance and reminders for travelers with dementia.
  • Beacons and Sensors: Use beacons and sensors to help guide passengers and provide location-based assistance and information.

By integrating these steps, airports can create a more inclusive and supportive environment for older adults and those with dementia, improving their travel experience and overall well-being.

If you would like to find out how AGE-u-cate Training Institute can assist in Age and Dementia Friendly initiatives for airports and airlines, please contact us today!

Free Consultation

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Topics: Dementia Friendly America, Dementia Empathy Training, Dementia Friendly Airports

Global to Local:  Dementia Action Plans Urgently Needed

Posted by Pam Brandon on May 30, 2024 11:15:00 AM

A Staggering Rise in Dementia Cases

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 55 million people currently live with dementia worldwide, a figure expected to soar to 78 million by 2030 and 139 million by 2050. This dramatic increase highlights an urgent global health challenge that demands immediate and sustained action.

The Silent Epidemic of Undiagnosed Dementia

Compounding this crisis is the alarming number of undiagnosed cases. Research indicates that in high-income countries, only 20-50% of dementia cases are recognized and documented in primary care. The situation is even more dire in low and middle-income countries. For instance, a study in India suggests that 90% of dementia cases go undiagnosed. Extrapolating these findings globally, it’s estimated that three-quarters of individuals with dementia lack a formal diagnosis, thereby missing out on essential treatment, care, and support .

Dementia in Our Communities

People living with dementia are part of our everyday lives. They are our neighbors, friends, family members, and community members we interact with in places like grocery stores, banks, and community centers and faith communities. While many benefit from strong support systems, advanced technology, home care, adult day centers and senior living, millions are left isolated and struggling in unsafe conditions with minimal support.

Disparities in Access to Care

The disparity in access to healthcare and support services is glaring. In the United States, zip codes can determine the quality of care and support available to those with dementia. In developing countries, the number of dementia cases is increasing at a much faster rate due to health disparities, escalating the crisis daily.

Urgent Need for Community Preparedness

There is an urgent need for every community, from towns to entire countries, to enhance dementia awareness and caregiver education rapidly. Without such efforts, we risk exacerbating the challenges faced by people living with dementia and their families, leading to unsustainable costs and increased mortality.

The WHO's Global Action Plan

The WHO's Global action plan on the public health response to dementia 2017-2025 aims to improve the lives of those with dementia and their carers, while reducing dementia's impact on communities and countries. The plan outlines key areas for action:

  • Increasing Awareness and Prioritization: Promoting dementia awareness at all societal levels.
  • Reducing Dementia Risk: Implementing strategies to minimize risk factors.
  • Diagnosis, Treatment, and Care: Ensuring timely diagnosis and adequate care.
  • Support for Carers: Providing necessary support for caregivers.
  • Strengthening Information Systems: Enhancing data collection and analysis for better policy-making.
  • Research and Innovation: Fostering advancements in understanding and treating dementia.

Moving from Framework to Action

While frameworks at various levels are being developed, more needs to be done at a faster pace. Effective models provide a roadmap, but it is stakeholders who turn these plans into reality. At AGE-u-cate Training Institute, we are dedicated to fostering collaborations and partnerships to drive this essential work forward.

Call to Action

If you are part of a community-based organization, government entity, health plan, aging service provider, university, college, or training organization, we invite you to join us in addressing this significant public health crisis. Together, we can enhance dementia awareness, improve caregiver education, and ensure that communities worldwide are better prepared to support those living with dementia.

As our work expands globally, we welcome conversations and brainstorming that will lead to meaningful work.  Please contact us today to see how we can make a difference!

Contact Us

By understanding and addressing the growing dementia crisis, we can create a world where individuals with dementia live with dignity, support, and meaning. The time to act is now.


  1. Alzheimer's Disease International. Dementia Statistics. Retrieved from
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Topics: Global Initiatives, #DementiaLive, #Dementia Ready Communities

Addressing Social Isolation through Intergenerational Arts

Posted by Pam Brandon on May 23, 2024 11:15:00 AM
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Topics: Dementia and Wellness, HolisticHealth, #Intergenerational arts

Empowering Communities: Meals on Wheels' Role in Dementia Education and Support

Posted by Pam Brandon on May 10, 2024 11:22:00 AM

MOW America

This week, I had the incredible opportunity to speak at the Meals on Wheels Texas Conference, where I shared our impactful Dementia Live® Experience with MOW community partners from across the state. The discussion was eye-opening and highlighted the pressing need for dementia education and awareness within our communities.

During my session, I posed a thought-provoking question to the attendees: "How many of you feel that your communities are Dementia-Ready?" Not a single positive response echoed in the packed room.

Subsequently, I asked, "How many of you have been personally touched by someone living with dementia?" About 80% of the attendees raised their hands, showcasing the widespread impact of dementia in our society.

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Topics: #DementiaAwareness

Building Blocks for Addressing the Dementia Crisis: Collaborative Solutions and Initiatives

Posted by Pam Brandon on Apr 26, 2024 11:15:00 AM

The rising incidence of dementia and its toll on families is one piece of a significant domino effect on public health. As a caregiver for both my parents affected by dementia, I can say firsthand that there are no words to describe the emotional and physical price of this journey. I want to explore the broader crisis we face: the cost to our communities, public health, health systems, and the stakeholders who are all invested in this space.

First, let's face the reality: the looming aging tsunami, as it has been referred to for decades, is here. It is no longer a futuristic term. With this in mind, planning is accelerating into action at the federal, state, and local levels.

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Topics: Dementia Live®Training, Dementia Awareness, #Dementiastrategies

The Rising Importance of Credentialing for Dementia Professionals

Posted by Pam Brandon on Apr 11, 2024 12:10:07 PM

In today's rapidly evolving healthcare landscape, the demand for highly skilled and knowledgeable dementia professionals is at an all-time high. With the dementia crisis reaching critical levels, the need for individuals who are well-trained and credentialed in this specialized field has never been more pressing. Let's delve into why seeking education and credentialing from reputable organizations is crucial for dementia professionals and the overall quality of care they provide.

1. Enhanced Skills for Exceptional Care

Dementia care is a multifaceted domain that requires a delicate balance of technical expertise and compassionate care. Additional education equips professionals with vital skills such as empathy building, effective communication strategies, and specialized care practices tailored to individuals with dementia. These core competencies are indispensable in navigating the complexities of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, ensuring a higher standard of care for clients and their families.

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Topics: #dementia credentialing, #badging and credentialing

Building Trust - A Foundational Tool for Community Dementia Education

Posted by Pam Brandon on Mar 28, 2024 11:00:00 AM

In today's world, where dementia is becoming increasingly prevalent, it's vital for communities to bridge the gap between knowledge and empathy through comprehensive dementia training. These programs serve as the cornerstone for building trust, enhancing communication, promoting inclusivity, and ultimately fostering a more compassionate and supportive environment for individuals living with dementia. Let's explore how diving into dementia training can create ripples of positive change within communities.

Empathy as the Anchor

At the heart of dementia training lies the cultivation of empathy. By delving into the challenges faced by those living with dementia, training programs dismantle stereotypes and foster a deeper understanding among participants. This newfound empathy becomes the anchor that grounds interactions, leading to increased compassion and respect for individuals affected by dementia. As empathy blooms, so does trust, laying a solid foundation for meaningful connections within the community.

Navigating the Waters of Communication

Effective communication is the bridge that connects individuals, especially when engaging with those living with dementia. Dementia training equips participants with essential communication strategies tailored to the unique needs of individuals with cognitive impairments. Techniques such as using clear language, maintaining eye contact, and practicing active listening become navigational tools in fostering meaningful conversations. As communication barriers dissolve, trust builds naturally, creating smoother sailing in community interactions.

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Topics: Dementia friendly community, Dementia Care Outreach Education, Community Education

A Serious Look at Elder Abuse Prevention

Posted by Julie Boggess on Mar 14, 2024 9:54:12 AM

Stop Elder Abuse

This article aims to delve into the importance of adopting strategies for preventing elder abuse.

Throughout my 32-year tenure in leadership roles within nursing homes, I consistently encountered frustration due to the scarcity of resources, both in terms of time and finances, as well as the absence of thoroughly researched and effective strategies for proactively preventing elder abuse. Despite implementing standard measures such as employee background checks, mandatory annual in-service training, and policy review during new hire orientations, I often sensed a lingering feeling that there was more we could do. Looking back, I now recognize that we also fell short in adequately educating family members on abuse prevention. However, one aspect where we excelled was in promptly reporting allegations, which appeared to hold utmost importance from a regulatory standpoint, regrettably so.

Whether a professional working with elders living in the community or congregate care, does your agency do enough?  Can you identify and describe the organizational strategy to prevent abuse?

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Topics: Caregiver Training, Caregiver Burnout, elder abuse, compassionate leadership, compassion culture, Elder Abuse Prevention

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