Finally, Jane decided to move closer to her daughter. After a diagnosis of dementia, Jane lived by herself at home for three months. She had to visit her specialist every month but the specialist was thirty miles away. Jane increasingly had a hard time figuring out the bus schedules and fares. Now that she moved to a new neighborhood, she was able to avail herself of various dementia-friendly services. Lisa, Jane’s befriender, would take Jane to church and market every Sunday. The specialist was only five miles away and Jane could take the bus that offered free rides for seniors.
Persons with dementia benefit from dementia-friendly services such as a daycare facility, specialist services, and social care services. It improves their personal outlook about their lives and increases social participation. But the prevailing narrative about persons with dementia is based on the ‘deficit-model’ i.e., persons with dementia are not able to contribute to the society in meaningful ways and hence providing dementia-friendly services may not be a priority for city councils. The deficit model is outdated and needs to be replaced.
The new model encourages individualized approach towards providing services. No two persons with dementia are alike. Dementia-friendly communities think of persons with dementia as valuable members of the society and make efforts to provide individualized services. A social worker, after a careful assessment of the services that may be needed for a person with dementia, coordinates the services needed. For example, some persons with dementia need home care services where a care worker visits them to help them with chores. A care worker helps with basic tasks such as laundry, cleaning, and help with taking medicines. Some care workers are also able to prepare for meals or cook for meals. In most dementia-friendly communities, a home delivery service for meals is available e.g., meals on wheels.
Another frequently used service is an adult daycare center. A person with dementia spends their day at a dementia-friendly adult daycare center while their caregivers are at work. These daycare centers focus on keeping persons with dementia safe while providing activities to engage persons with dementia. Daycare centers conduct exercise sessions and also have cognitive games such as jig-saw puzzles to play. Some adult day care centers also extend transportation services from home to the center.
Having services available within a reasonable distance is a hallmark of dementia-friendly community. A person living with dementia may require services from health care professionals such as occupational therapists (to make homes adaptable to persons with dementia), neurologists (for neurological assessments and medications), and counselors (for caregivers and persons with dementia to cope with the diagnosis). A dementia-friendly community has these specialized services available within a reasonable commute for persons with dementia. Furthermore, these communities provide befriender services which facilitates access to health services.
The healthcare and social care services are often organized by government agencies e.g., NHS in the UK. In dementia-friendly communities volunteer organizations also provide information regarding dementia-friendly services. At Alzcare labs, we are committed to providing information about how to build dementia-friendly communities. For further information, contact us at email@example.com.