That latest research from AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving is alarming. The US had 43.5 million unpaid caregivers in 2015. By 2020, that number soared to 53 million. Nearly one in five or 19% provide unpaid care to an adult with health or functional needs.
In my last blog post, I shared a recent poll we had conducted that asked what type of training is most effective for aging service providers. Experiential training was the clear leader, followed by peer-to-peer mentoring. Online learning came in last. We need to change our thinking about online learning!
There are many definitions of threshold that are worth discussing before we jump to the meat of how it relates to dementia training.
Topics: AGE-u-cate Training Institute, Dementia Live®Training, Direct Care Workforce Training, workforce training, dementia care training, Communication Skills Training, caregiver education, Skill Building
In previous blogs, I've discussed the proven benefits of Dementia Live® as a powerful and effective experiential foundational training experience.
To elevate dementia care practices, care partners must first understand dementia and how persons with dementia feel challenged with cognitive and sensory changes. Dementia Live® simulates cognitive and sensory impairment, giving participants first-hand experience living with dementia.
In dementia simulation programming, there's a lot to say about what makes Dementia Live stand out. Since its launch in 2015, the team here at AGE-u-cate® has spent more time listening to our client partner's needs than talking. The result?
A program that is indeed what our tag line says: Proven. Powerful. Effective. Tag lines can get wordy, so we'll discuss another significant benefit:
Dementia Live is incredibly flexible.
As empathy and skill-building training, Dementia Live brings together a transformational experience, care partners empowerment session, and practical tools to professionals and families across the aging care spectrum. The team at AGE-u-cate believes that EVERYONE needs to better understand dementia.
We are at the crossroads of unprecedented growth in our aging population, which will continue to affect every aspect of our society. Therefore, aging and dementia education is necessary for breaking the cycle of ageism and exclusion for persons living with cognitive changes. Our provider partners are key catalysts to offer this critical dementia awareness experience and education to the world.
Dementia Live coaches receive organized, easy to deliver training which allows them (provider organizations) to take the Dementia Live program beyond the walls of their own organization. We provide the tools and resources to adapt to ever-changing circumstances, such as a virtual version of the Experience developed in response to the COVID pandemic. This Virtual Dementia Live Experience allowed providers to continue to use the program as an outreach education tool while social distancing restrictions were in place. Here's what The Alzheimer and Parkinson Association of IRC had to say about AGE-u-cate's pivot to a Virtual Experience during Covid.
Dementia training is serious business. As we grapple with the exponential growth of people living with dementia, aging services providers are looking closely at programs that will improve outcomes for their residents, clients, staff, families and support business goals.
The AGE-u-cate team has been hard at work since the launch of Dementia Live® in 2015 to deliver a program that meets the complex needs across the spectrum of aging services to serve better those living with dementia and their care partners.
Integrated by over 800 organizations and agencies in the United States, Canada, and Australia, Dementia Live® has a robust value in the aging services industry. This evidence-informed training program is guided by science-based experiential learning and microlearning strategies. Placing the learner directly in touch with the realities of living with dementia, they gain more profound levels of understanding and knowledge and receive practical skill-building tools and techniques that effectively improve care and quality of life for care partners.
Learning by doing is not a new concept. Educators have long pointed to the exponentially powerful effects of this education model. American psychologist, professor and educational theorist David Kolb published his learning styles model in 1984, from which he developed his learning style inventory.
Part of my responsibility as the VP of Grant Initiatives is to track the progress of Compassionate Touch® and Dementia Live® online coach training for the nursing homes that are participating in our Civil Monetary Penalty Grant (CMP) projects. We have amassed an impressive list of nursing home staff in Ohio , Minnesota, North Carolina and Tennessee who have completed online training to become Compassionate Touch® and/or Dementia Live® coaches.
After months of reviewing training reports, this week I noticed something other than the number of new coaches, and that is the number of coaches since 2019 who are still with their facility.
I need to preface by saying that this information has not been confirmed by participating facilities, but each time an email bounces back to me- the name is scratched off my list. In Ohio, 99/124 Compassionate Touch® and 76/106 Dementia Live® coaches appear to be reachable with the same email address used to enroll in coach training, indicating retention of 79% and 71% respectively.
Admittedly, there is likely a margin of error in these numbers, but assuming a -10%, these numbers are impressive, considering the massive turnover that has occurred during the pandemic.
Employee Engagement and Retention
While the recipe for retention is far more involved than just providing staff education, I believe I am justified in believing the human resource investment that these participating facilities made in Compassionate Touch® and Dementia Live® training may have contributed to the retention of these coaches. Many of these coaches are still in touch with me and share their excitement about starting up training again.
National Commission for Quality Long Term Care, 2007
Public Policy and Aging Report, 2017
National Institute of Health, 2021
The above studies reveal that the reasons for voluntary separation include many factors, but lack of quality training and education, feeling ill-prepared, and absence of professional growth were consistent factors.
Compassionate Touch® and Dementia Live® coach training is high quality, relevant and fills knowledge gaps that move the ill-prepared to a place of confidence and competence. These programs are also utilized as career ladder opportunities in many organizations, and that number is growing.
Everyone should take a moment and think of your accomplishments over this past year- I am sure there are many. For me, taking stock that perhaps our work at AGE-u-cate® has helped to in some way to keep employees engaged and retained is very rewarding.
Marketing Team - are you ready for 2022? I suspect you are either shaking your head in agreement or feeling stuck in planning what to do next.
Senior living providers have had a plateful of challenges to address, and one that ranks high on the priority list is to rebuild census.
Let’s talk about how to differentiate yourself from the crowd, build quality relationships that result in move-ins, and create an ongoing stream of referrals.
I started in the aging and caregiver space over 27 years ago as a family caregiver. Almost three decades later what I needed most then is exactly the same as what study after study supports is desperately needed now - education!
Be Your Community Resource
I talked in my last blog about the importance of community collaboration - that is, a care community's collaboration within their geographic region. For example, working with a local Dementia-Friendly Initiative, Alzheimer's Association or Parkinson's Foundation, or others working hard to build widespread awareness of critical aging issues. This helps to expand community relationships, build awareness and develop connections with referrals, and all the while contributing to the greater good.
The need today for effective dementia education is through the roof!
Marketing team - add to your toolbox a "Wow" experience to help people better understand life with dementia.
2022 will be a year for:
- A game-changing referral source strategy.
- Families and professionals seeking out in-person activities, conferences, education, etc.
- Senior care providers to offer something different that will help engage and connect with their referral sources in more meaningful ways.
- Communities to invest in programs, activities, and events that will engage people and set them apart from their competition.
Become a Dementia® Live Coach
AGE-u-cate®️ Training Institute's highly acclaimed Dementia Live®️ Simulation Experience is the game-changer. It's what people talk about a year after they've gone through the experience. It offers the care community representative the opportunity to speak one-on-one with participants, build a meaningful relationship, and in the process, provide one of the most powerful dementia education experiences available today.
As much as your staff needs Dementia Live®, your community does as well. This program offers the benefits of flexibility, practical tools, and resources to allow senior care providers to use as staff training AND community outreach education. And if in-person is not an option, the program includes an online option!
"Dementia Live is hands-down, our most valuable census building tool. Beyond its incredible educational value, it's our #1 marketing investment." ED, Texas.
AGE-u-cate is on a global mission to ignite change! Want to join us?
If you want to learn more about having Dementia Live® in your sales toolbox, contact us today!