Is your business  dementia-inclusive?

Is your business dementia-inclusive?

< Back to Articles | Topics: Trends

Contributors:

Roseanne Burke, Certified Dementia Trainer, Always Home Homecare

Every three seconds, someone in the world is diagnosed with dementia.

Did you know that in Nova Scotia, about 17,000 people are currently living with dementia? This number is expected to increase as Baby Boomers continue to age. For every person diagnosed with the disease, countless more family members and friends are also affected.

What does this mean for you, as a business owner? If you are a service provider, you will likely have customers who live with dementia. You may have employees who are caregivers to parents or loved ones with dementia. If you employ older people, you may have an employee who receives a diagnosis of dementia.

When it comes to your customers, can your staff recognize the warning signs of someone who is living with dementia? Do they know how to adapt their communication and behavior to help someone who may have challenges in communicating what they want?

Here are 10 warning signs of dementia to keep in mind ...

  1. Memory loss that affects day-to-day abilities (i.e., being able to order from a menu)
  2. Difficulty performing familiar tasks (i.e., paying a bill)
  3. Problems with language, like forgetting words
  4. Disorientation in time and space (i.e., not knowing the day or year)
  5. Impaired judgement (i.e., banking transactions that are out of the norm for the person)
  6. Problems with abstract thinking (i.e., not understanding numbers)
  7. Misplacing things and putting things
    in strange places
  8. Changes in mood and behaviour
  9. Changes in personality, like becoming confused, suspicious or fearful
  10. Loss of initiative and interest in friends, family and favourite activities

What can you do to help your business become more inclusive of people living with dementia?
Here are a few ideas:

  • Distribute information on the warning signs of dementia to your staff
  • Host a 20-minute lunch-and-learn with a Certified Dementia Trainer to learn more about dementia and communication tips
  • Ask people living with dementia (and their families) how you can help them
  • Encourage your staff to be patient and kind if they suspect someone has dementia
  • Create a physical space that is friendly, welcoming and inclusive of people living with dementia

Why does it make sense to have a heightened awareness of dementia as a business owner? Nova Scotia has one of the oldest populations in the country with 19.9 per cent of the population being over the age of 65. As age is the greatest risk factor for developing dementia, this is a condition that you will see more of with the people that you help.

Most of the actions you can take to becoming a dementia-inclusive business cost very little. The benefits to your business however, can be widespread and may include better customer interactions, greater employee satisfaction, being a community leader, helping to reduce senior isolation and knowing it is the right thing to do. There is no downside in taking small steps to include people with dementia.

Begin today to learn more about dementia and what you can do to become more aware and knowledgeable. Together as a business community, we can take powerful steps in helping people who are living with dementia continue to be active members within their community, maintain as much independence as possible and participate in everyday activities that they’ve always enjoyed.

Rosanne Burke is a Certified Dementia Trainer with Always Home Homecare. To learn more about their services, call 902-405-4400 or visit www.alwayshomecare.ca.

< Back to Articles | Topics: Trends

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