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Utilizing Technology to Enhance Dementia Care

by Shannon, March 11, 2019

Quality care for dementia patients is essential due to the symptoms that progress and the unpredictable nature of the disease. Care Indeed, a leading home care provider, is committed to providing caregiving services that improve the quality of life for dementia patients and supports family members.

As advanced technology significantly impacts the nature in which care is provided, Care Indeed is the first in home health care to incorporate virtual reality training into their professional development and continuing education efforts for caregivers.

Now, the level of care can surpass that of the past due to the interactive training opportunities for individuals affected by dementia.


Navigating Dementia

Caring for someone with dementia can be challenging as the disease progresses in ways that you just can’t predict. Individuals with dementia often experience a loss of cognitive functioning that affects reasoning, remembering and thinking, as well as behavioral and physical changes that interfere with daily life and activities, according to the Institute on Aging.

As a result, people with dementia often have difficulty with language skills, self-management, problem solving, visual perception, focus and memory.

That is why advanced care techniques, utilizing technology are crucial. Care Indeed has partnered with Strivr, a leader in the virtual reality training industry, to provide caregivers with real-time scenarios and situations that help them learn about how their actions and reactions affect patients with dementia. This technology offers a springboard for discussion on the best ways to approach care.


The 5 Fundamentals of Dementia Care

Education is key when caring for a person with dementia. With the right tools and resources, caregivers can better navigate the disease and support family members of dementia patients. However, when struggling with dementia, there are 5 fundamental things to remember.

  1. Learn to Accept Support: It can be difficult, as a dementia patient or a family member, to accept support. However, when you are connecting with caregivers who have been trained via virtual reality or sharing your experiences with members of a dementia support group, it can better help you to navigate the disease for yourself – or a loved one.
  1. Learn to Empathize: Compassionate care begins and ends with empathy. It is important for caregivers and family members to develop human relationships that make the dementia patient feel as if they were still an active member of society. And, most importantly, people with dementia need to know that someone else truly understands.
  1. Learn to Be Realistic: Empty promises about getting better are often lost on dementia patients. While you need to remain positive, acknowledge that good and bad days will occur. Caregivers from Care Indeed learn this firsthand through Virtual Reality Dementia Training sessions.
  1. Understand that Personalities Change: One of the key elements of the virtual reality training sessions, powered by Strivr, emphasize is that dementia can dramatically change a person’s personality. Due to memory loss or a loss of cognitive function, you may find that simple phrases that used to comfort the patient now evoke feelings of frustration.
  1. Learn to Plan for the Future: While dementia is unpredictable, family members and caregivers can plan for the future by anticipating changes. Learn as much as possible about the potential changes that may occur in your client or family member.


The Importance of Advanced Training

One of the main reasons Care Indeed began offering virtual reality dementia training for its caregivers was to showcase the ever-changing nature of the disease. How you approach a dementia patient may evoke vastly different reactions at different times of the day. Your loved one or patient may also experience mood swings and emotional outbursts as a result of the challenges of the disease.

In fact, some of the most common situations when caring for a dementia patient include:

  • Aggressive Actions or Speech
  • Confusion About Place or Time
  • Poor Judgment

Putting yourself in the situation before it even occurs is one way to prepare. That is why Care Indeed has partnered with Strivr, a leader in the virtual reality training industry, to provide Virtual Reality Dementia Training for caregivers and those assisting individuals with dementia.

With virtual reality, trainees are put into 3D environments while wearing audio-visual headsets. They can see situations as they unfold in real time and can then make decisions based on the situation.


Continued Learning is Essential

 From the start, Care Indeed has invested and committed to continuing education for its caregivers. The new Virtual Reality Dementia Training, though, takes training to an innovative level. In fact, according to Dee Bustos, CEO of Care Indeed, the company is the first home care company to invest in this type of technology.

“The goal is to teach through practical simulation rather than theoretical concepts,” said Bustos.

The partnership with Strivr to offer virtual reality dementia training stemmed from Care Indeed’s commitment to offer ongoing training and continuing education for caregivers, said Bustos. “Our caregivers had expressed their desire for additional training for them to effectively map out the best possible dementia care, so we partnered with Strivr and created the VR Dementia Training,” she said.

The pilot program has showcased successful results as caregivers and family members learned how to approach, communicate and respond to dementia patients. Each participant was instructed how to simplify challenging tasks, develop a caring bond and relationship with patients and model physical movements.

The goal – for both caregivers and family members – is to ease the pain and improve quality of life for individuals with dementia. Technology has proven to be one strategy to help caregivers better prepare for the changes. 

For more information about Care Indeed’s Virtual Reality Dementia Training program, contact the business development team at (877) 504-3822.