Julie Boggess

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How Do You Assess Quality Dementia Education?

Posted by Julie Boggess on May 6, 2022 3:44:59 PM


Dementia Competencies and How to Choose Good Education

Hosted by Joan Devine, the Pioneer Network presented an outstanding webinar entitled, "Dementia Competencies and How to Choose Good Education."  The Dementia education universe is vast and varied, and it can be difficult to navigate to the most effective and relevant training.  


The opening message offered by presenter Kim McRae, Founder of "Having a Good Life" and Co-Founder of the Culture Change Network of Georgia is that we should not use "Alzheimer's" as the general term for dementia.  This causes a lot of confusion and marginalizes those living with dementia not related to Alzheimer's.   As leaders, we need to be consistent in and steadfast in understanding this important distinction. 

Jennifer Craft Morgan, Director and Associate Gerontology Professor at Georgia State University made a salient point that education and knowledge acquisition is important, but it must lead to skill-building.   "Surface learning" alone will not change employees' care approaches.  

Improving education and training and developing supports for direct care workers to implement skills in context has the potential to transform the workforce to a dementia-capable, culturally competent workforce. - Jennifer Craft Morgan.

Check out quality education programs provided by AGE-u-cate here: 

AGE-u-cate's Training Programs




So, if change is what we are after, then the first criteria to evaluate is whether the chosen curriculum will result in modifying employee care actions.

Kim McRae, Founder of "Have a Good Life" and Co-Founder of the Culture Change Network of Georgia cautioned listeners to avoid narrowly viewing people living with dementia from the standpoint of loss and deficits.  In doing so, we create stigma, loss of well-being and excess disability.  Training must un-do the "patients vs people" approach of the past and inspire the workforce to see the human being first.  


The speakers then discussed language that should be used in training curriculum, because words absolutely matter.  

"Living with dementia vs suffering with dementia"

"Responding to stress reactions vs managing unwanted behaviors"

 Just as important as the content is the delivery.  The presenters asked attendees to think back to their last training and identify the things that the instructor/training did that didn't support learning. 

Helpful list of what not to do

  • There is no interaction with the learners or engagement (lecture only)
  • Content was not relevant to the work of the learners
  • There is no hands-on application
  • Old and stale material
  • Trying to cover too much information at once
  • There is no way to experience the learning

Another critical point is that training should not be one-and-done.  Learning must be consistent and ongoing, and reinforced by leadership.  Leaders need to excite their employees!  Talk with them about what they learned and how it can be applied to achieve person-centered care and improve the quality of life for elders.  


In summary, training curriculum as offered by Ms. McRae and Dr. Morgan should: 

  1. Include contemporary best practice language with positive messaging.
  2. Result in skill-building of care team members.
  3. Offer resources to enable leadership to reinforce the learning and drive change.
  4. Be Interactive and engaging to keep employees interested in continued learning.
  5. Involve all care-partners, not just the direct care workers.

Many thanks to the Pioneer Network and presenters for this critical and timely information.  


About the author:

Julie joined the AGE-u-cate team in 2020 after working 31 years in nursing home operations. Starting in social services and admissions, she moved into management and executive positions in 1990 after obtaining an Illinois nursing home administrator license. Her passion for dementia capable care came early in her career where she had the good fortune to work with and learn from culture change pioneers. Julie is also an adjunct instructor in Gerontology and Aging Services at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL. She has two adult children and lives in the Northwest Chicago Suburb of Schaumburg with husband and three fur-babies. She is convinced that she was a lounge singer in a former life.

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Topics: dementia education, employee training, staff development

Dementia Perspectives:  Personal and Professional

Posted by Julie Boggess on Apr 11, 2022 4:54:59 PM

I consider myself fortunate that so far, nobody in family has lived with dementia.  Many people working in aging services are there after having personal experience caring for a loved one.  Strangely enough, my first experience interacting with someone living with dementia was in college, during an internship in a CCRC my senior year. 

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Topics: compassionate touch, Personhood, caregiving connection, quality of care

The Big Shift in Care Partner Education

Posted by Julie Boggess on Mar 22, 2022 3:00:00 PM

Matt Reiners is the Co-Founder and Vice President of Eversound, a hearing solution company dedicated to improving the quality of life for elders.  Recently, he had a conversation with our own Laura Ellen Christian about the future of training and education for the senior living industry.  

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Topics: person-first employee education, staff development, learning to action

What Does Empathy Look Like?

Posted by Julie Boggess on Feb 25, 2022 2:42:34 PM

We are talking a lot about empathy lately.  I see many posts, blogs and articles on the subject because so many feel that it is severely lacking in this current time.  Social psychologists are having a field day dissecting what has gone so wrong, and why.  

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Topics: empathy, Skill Building

You Didn't Wake Up to be Mediocre

Posted by Julie Boggess on Feb 23, 2022 3:10:05 PM

AGE-u-cate's CEO Pam Brandon sent each team member a jar containing one inspirational quote per week for 52 weeks.  Every Monday, we unroll our scroll and read the message to the team.  You may have seen Laura Ellen Christian on LinkedIn every Monday sharing a video reflection on her inspirational quote.

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Topics: thrive, recharge, recommit

Onboard Employees with One Goal:  Retention

Posted by Julie Boggess on Feb 21, 2022 3:00:00 PM

It is time to get serious about changing the onboarding process for new hires, and there is no time to lose.  Maggie Keen, Vice President of Corporate Development at MissionCare Collective delivered this impactful message for AGE-u-cate's February Virtual Road Trip entitled, "Building Culture:  Rethinking recruitment, onboarding, and retention to drive better care and a better workplace."  

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Topics: retention, employee retention, employee engagement

Empathy:  The Lubricant of Change

Posted by Julie Boggess on Feb 18, 2022 3:18:10 PM

Describing empathy as a lubricant creates visuals in my head like the annoying squeaky door hinge that finally gets some W-D40.  A lubricant softens rough edges, makes things work better, and a little bit goes a long way.  I think the same is true when we approach situations that we encounter in work and life from a place of empathy.  

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Topics: empathy, Empathy Training, REVEAL Aging, Dementia Live™️, cultivating empathy

How Does it Feel to Have Dementia?

Posted by Julie Boggess on Feb 17, 2022 9:05:39 AM

I have experienced moments of confusion, like being on a business trip and waking up in an unfamiliar place and needing a moment to orient myself.  One time (or possibly more than once), I forgot where I parked my car at a large shopping mall.  With so many entrances to choose from, I could not remember which one I walked through to enter the mall.  Just a few weeks ago, I went through half of a day believing it was Thursday, and it was Wednesday- an entire HALF DAY!  

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Topics: culture change, Empathy Training, dementia training, employee training, attitudes, actions

Nobel Prize in Medicine: Touch Receptors

Posted by Julie Boggess on Jan 7, 2022 3:41:31 PM

The 2021 winner of the Nobel Prize in Medicine has been awarded to Ardem Patapoutian. PhD, a neuroscientist at Scripps Research in La Jolla, CA for discovering cell receptors that enable people to sense heat, cold, pain, touch and sound.  The award¹ is shared with David Julius, a physiologist at the University of California San Francisco.

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Topics: compassionate touch, touchisgoodmedicine, scienceoftouch

Discussion: Resolutions or Goals for Aging Services Providers?

Posted by Julie Boggess on Dec 29, 2021 1:17:46 PM

I found advice from Forbes, dated December 31, 2018, that I believe is spot on about setting 2022 new year's resolutions, and it goes like this, "This year, set goals instead of resolutions."  

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Topics: Workforce Development, aging services workforce, employee retention

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