Pam Brandon

Recent Posts

Key Strategies to Enhance Support for Family Caregivers of Those Living with Dementia

Posted by Pam Brandon on Jul 18, 2024 11:15:00 AM

Family caregivers of individuals with dementia face unique challenges, often experiencing higher levels of stress compared to caregivers of those with other chronic conditions. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 11 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias, collectively contributing over 15 billion hours of care annually.

.The emotional, physical, and financial strain on these caregivers necessitates a multi-faceted support approach, which includes cross-sector partnerships, strengthening caregiver capacity, and robust data collection. AGE-u-cate Training Institute is at the forefront of addressing these needs through strategic collaborations and innovative growth of it's powerful experiential education program, Dementia Live®.

The Stress and Challenges Faced by Dementia Caregivers

Research consistently shows that caregivers of individuals with dementia experience higher levels of stress and burden. A study published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry found that dementia caregivers reported significantly higher stress levels, poorer physical health, and more depressive symptoms compared to non-dementia caregivers. This heightened stress is often due to the progressive nature of dementia, the need for constant supervision, and the emotional toll of witnessing a loved one’s cognitive decline.

Strategic Pillars for Enhancing Caregiver Support

The Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) has identified three key pillars to enhance support for family caregivers of those living with dementia: cross-sector partnerships, strengthening caregiver capacity, and robust data collection.

  1. Cross-Sector, Public and Private Partnerships

    Quality stakeholder partnerships are essential in creating a robust support system to identify, support and educate dementia caregivers. Healthcare providers, payers, community organizations, and policy makers, integrated services can help create a more streamlined support network. These partnerships can lead to better access to respite care, counseling, and other essential services that are essential to alleviate caregiver burden.

  2. Strengthening Caregiver Capacity

    Strengthening caregiver capacity involves providing caregivers with the tools, education, and resources they need to care for their loved ones effectively. This includes training on dementia care techniques, stress management, and self-care strategies. Empowering caregivers with knowledge and skills not only improves the quality of care provided but also enhances the caregivers' well-being.

  3. Robust Data Collection

    Robust data collection is critical for understanding the needs of dementia caregivers and evaluating the effectiveness of support programs. By collecting and analyzing data on caregiver experiences, health outcomes, and service utilization, stakeholders can identify gaps in support and tailor interventions to meet caregivers’ needs more effectively.

AGE-u-cate Training Institute: Leading the Way with Dementia Live®

AGE-u-cate Training Institute is a pivotal partner in addressing the challenges faced by dementia caregivers. Their Dementia Live program is a key component in identifying caregivers, building relationships and trust, providing necessary education and resources, and integrating assessment tools and surveys.

Identifying Caregivers and Building Relationships

The Dementia Live awareness and empathy program is a powerful component  in identifying caregivers and understanding their unique situations. By engaging with caregivers directly, a trained Dementia Live Coach builds trust and establishes strong relationships, creating a foundation for effective support. This personalized approach ensures that caregivers feel heard, valued, and supported.

Providing Education and Resource Tools

Education is at the heart of the Dementia Live program. Caregivers receive immersive training that simulates the experience of living with dementia, fostering empathy and understanding. This experiential learning is complemented by practical training on caregiving techniques, communication strategies, and stress management. Additionally, caregivers are provided with a wealth of resources, which may include access to support groups, respite care options, and financial planning assistance.

Integrating Assessment Tools and Surveys

To continuously improve the support provided, AGE-u-cate works with program partners to integrate assessment tools and surveys into the Dementia Live program. These tools help track caregivers’ progress, identify areas where additional support is needed, and measure the program's impact. This data-driven approach ensures that the program remains responsive to caregivers' evolving needs.


Supporting family caregivers of individuals with dementia requires a comprehensive approach that includes cross-sector partnerships, strengthening caregiver capacity, and robust data collection. The work  AGE-u-cate Training Institute exemplifies this approach, providing caregivers with the tools, education, and resources they need to care for their loved ones effectively while maintaining their own well-being. Programs like Dementia Live® are integral in building a compassionate, informed, and resilient caregiving community.

To learn how AGE-u-cate Training Institute can strengthen family caregiver initiatives, contact us today.

Read More

Topics: Dementia Capable Care, #HealthcareSolutions, #DementiaLive, #Dementia care education, #Dementia Caregivers

Compassionate Communication -a Game Changer for Improving Healthcare Outcomes

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



In today's fast-paced healthcare environment, the human touch can sometimes be overlooked. However, research consistently shows that compassionate communication is crucial for patient outcomes, healthcare provider well-being, and overall organizational effectiveness. Let's look at the importance of compassionate communication in healthcare, drawing on key research findings to highlight its benefits and impact.

Read More

Topics: #HealthcareEmpathy, #Compassionate Communication, #Improve Patient Outcomes

The Challenges Health Care Plans Face in Reducing High Costs of Dementia Care

Posted by Pam Brandon on Jul 4, 2024 11:15:00 AM

Dementia, a debilitating condition characterized by a decline in memory, language, problem-solving, and other cognitive skills, poses significant challenges not only to patients and their families but also to health care systems globally. As the population ages, the prevalence of dementia is increasing, leading to escalating health care costs that burden both individuals and health care plans. Despite ongoing efforts, health care plans continue to struggle in effectively reducing the high costs associated with dementia care.

The Rising Prevalence and Economic Burden

Dementia affects millions of people worldwide, with Alzheimer's disease being the most common form. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that around 55 million people are living with dementia, and this number is projected to reach 78 million by 2030 and 139 million by 2050. In the United States alone, the Alzheimer's Association reported that dementia-related costs reached $355 billion in 2021, a figure expected to soar to over $1 trillion by 2050 without significant interventions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 5.8 million Americans were living with Alzheimer's disease in 2020, and this number is expected to nearly triple by 2060.

Complexities of Dementia Care

Dementia care is inherently complex and multifaceted. It encompasses medical treatment, long-term care, and supportive services. Patients often require round-the-clock supervision, assistance with daily activities, and specialized care that addresses their unique needs. This complexity drives up costs, making it challenging for health care plans to manage expenses effectively. A study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that the average total cost of care for a person with dementia is approximately $287,000 over a five-year period, with long-term care being the most significant expense.

Barriers to Cost Reduction

Several factors contribute to the difficulty health care plans face in reducing dementia care costs:

  1. Early Diagnosis and Intervention: Early diagnosis of dementia is crucial for effective management, yet it remains a significant challenge. The Alzheimer's Association estimates that only about 50% of people with dementia are diagnosed at an early stage. Health care plans struggle to implement widespread screening and early intervention programs due to limited resources and varying access to diagnostic tools.

  2. Lack of Standardized Care: There is no one-size-fits-all approach to dementia care. Each patient's progression and needs are unique, requiring personalized care plans. This lack of standardization makes it difficult for health care plans to implement cost-effective, uniform strategies. Research from the RAND Corporation indicates that standardizing care protocols could potentially save billions in health care costs annually.

  3. Caregiver Support: Informal caregivers, often family members, provide the majority of dementia care. However, they receive little support and training, leading to burnout and increased health care utilization. A study in Health Affairs highlighted that caregiver burnout can increase health care costs by 23% due to higher use of emergency services and hospitalizations. Health care plans are challenged to provide adequate resources and respite care for these caregivers to prevent further costs.

  4. Pharmaceutical Limitations: While there are medications available to manage dementia symptoms, they are not curative. The development of disease-modifying therapies has been slow and expensive. Health care plans face the challenge of balancing the cost of these medications with their limited efficacy. According to a report by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the failure rate for Alzheimer's drugs in clinical trials is 99.6%, reflecting the high costs and challenges in developing effective treatments.

  5. Long-Term Care Costs: Long-term care facilities and home-based care options are expensive. As dementia progresses, the need for these services increases, placing a significant financial burden on health care plans. Additionally, the quality and availability of long-term care vary widely, complicating efforts to standardize costs. The Genworth Cost of Care Survey found that the median annual cost of a private room in a nursing home was $105,850 in 2021.

Strategies for Mitigating Costs

Despite these challenges, there are strategies that health care plans can adopt to mitigate the high costs of dementia care:

  1. Promoting Preventive Measures: Investing in public health campaigns that promote brain health and preventive measures, such as cardiovascular health and cognitive training, can help reduce the incidence of dementia. Research from The Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention, Intervention, and Care suggests that addressing modifiable risk factors could prevent or delay up to 40% of dementia cases.

  2. Enhancing Early Detection: Implementing widespread screening programs and training primary care providers to recognize early signs of dementia can facilitate earlier diagnosis and intervention, potentially slowing disease progression. The CDC's Healthy Brain Initiative emphasizes the importance of early detection in improving outcomes and reducing costs.

  3. Supporting Caregivers: Providing resources, education, and respite care for informal caregivers can reduce their burden and prevent burnout, ultimately lowering health care utilization. The Family Caregiver Alliance reports that supporting caregivers with training and respite care can significantly reduce health care costs and improve patient outcomes.

  4. Expanding Community-Based Services: Developing and funding community-based services, such as adult day care programs and in-home support, can offer more affordable alternatives to long-term care facilities. The AARP Public Policy Institute found that expanding home and community-based services could save Medicaid an estimated $9 billion annually.

  5. Investing in Research: Continued investment in research for disease-modifying therapies and better understanding of dementia can lead to more effective treatments and potentially curative solutions, ultimately reducing long-term costs. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), increasing funding for Alzheimer's and dementia research has led to significant advances, but sustained investment is crucial for future breakthroughs.

The challenges in decreasing the high costs of dementia care are multifaceted and complex. Health care plans face significant obstacles, from early diagnosis to long-term care. However, through preventive measures, early detection, caregiver support, community-based services, and investment in research, there is hope for more effective cost management and improved care for dementia patients. Addressing these challenges requires a collaborative effort from health care providers, policymakers, researchers, and communities to ensure a sustainable and compassionate approach to dementia care.

To learn more about how AGE-u-cate Training Institute is collaborating with health care plans, payors and health systems to address community-wide dementia awareness, education, and training, contact us today. 

Free Consultation

Read More

Topics: #Dementia Capable System, #HealthcareSolutions, #DementiaCommunityEducation

Empowering Communities with Dementia Friends Training

Posted by Pam Brandon on Jun 27, 2024 11:15:00 AM
Read More

Topics: #Dementia Capable System, #DementiaAwareness, #Dementia Ready Communities, #DementiaCommunityEducation

Agility and Efficacy: The Advantages of Evidence-Informed Dementia Training

Posted by Pam Brandon on Jun 20, 2024 11:15:00 AM










In the dynamic field of dementia care, training programs need to be both effective and adaptable. Evidence-informed dementia training has emerged as a vital approach, offering significant advantages over traditional evidence-based programming. Let's delve into the benefits of evidence-informed dementia training, highlighting its agility and the superior outcomes it fosters in care settings.

Understanding Evidence-Informed Dementia Training

Evidence-informed training integrates the best available research evidence with clinical expertise and patient values. Unlike evidence-based training, which relies strictly on research findings often derived from controlled environments, evidence-informed training is more flexible. It allows for the incorporation of real-world clinical experiences and individual patient preferences, creating a holistic approach to dementia care.

The Advantages of Evidence-Informed Dementia Training

  1. Flexibility and Adaptability

    One of the primary strengths of evidence-informed training is its flexibility. Dementia care is inherently complex and variable, with each patient presenting unique symptoms and challenges. Evidence-informed training programs can quickly adapt to new research findings, emerging clinical practices, and individual patient needs. This agility ensures that care providers are always equipped with the most current and relevant strategies, fostering a more responsive care environment.

  2. Enhanced Clinical Relevance

    Evidence-informed training emphasizes the practical application of research findings. By incorporating the insights of experienced clinicians and the preferences of patients and their families, this approach ensures that the training is not only scientifically sound but also highly relevant to real-world practice. This relevance increases the likelihood that care providers will effectively implement what they learn, leading to better patient outcomes.

  3. Patient-Centered Care

    A significant benefit of evidence-informed training is its focus on patient-centered care. This approach recognizes the importance of tailoring interventions to meet the specific needs and preferences of individuals with dementia. By valuing patient and family input, evidence-informed training fosters more compassionate and personalized care. Studies have shown that such patient-centered approaches can significantly improve the quality of life for individuals with dementia and their caregivers (Kitwood, 1997; Brooker, 2004).

  4. Rapid Implementation of Innovations

    The agility of evidence-informed training allows for the rapid adoption of new innovations in dementia care. Traditional evidence-based models often require extensive time to gather, analyze, and apply new research findings. In contrast, evidence-informed training can quickly incorporate new insights and technologies, ensuring that care providers are always at the forefront of best practices.

  5. Holistic Care Approach

    Evidence-informed training promotes a holistic approach to dementia care. By integrating various sources of knowledge—research evidence, clinical expertise, and patient experiences—this training fosters a more comprehensive understanding of dementia. This holistic perspective helps care providers address not only the cognitive and physical aspects of the disease but also the emotional and social needs of patients.

Evidence-Informed Solutions

Evidence-informed dementia training offers a dynamic and comprehensive approach to dementia care. Its flexibility and adaptability allow for the continuous integration of new research and practices, ensuring that care providers remain equipped with the latest tools and knowledge. By emphasizing clinical relevance, patient-centered care, and the rapid implementation of innovations, evidence-informed training enhances the quality of care for individuals with dementia. Embracing this approach can lead to significant improvements in patient outcomes and overall quality of life.

In a field as complex and rapidly evolving as dementia care, the agility of evidence-informed training provides a crucial advantage. By blending the rigor of evidence-based research with the practical insights of clinical experience and patient values, this approach ensures that dementia care remains responsive, relevant, and effective.

If you'd like to learn how AGE-u-cate's evidence-informed programs can provide solutions to your dementia care and training challenges, please contact us today!

Contact Us




  • Kitwood, T. (1997). Dementia Reconsidered: The Person Comes First. Open University Press.
  • Brooker, D. (2004). What is person-centred care in dementia? Reviews in Clinical Gerontology, 13(3), 215-222.
Read More

Topics: #Evidence-informed dementia training, #Patient-centered dementia care, #Innovative dementia training, #Dementia care education, #Alzheimer's caregiver training

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.

Read More

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


Read More

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

Read More

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
Read More

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
Read More

Topics: Dementia and Wellness, HolisticHealth, #Intergenerational arts

Subscribe to Our Blog

Lists by Topic

see all

Posts by Topic

See all

Recent Posts