DEALING WITH DEMENTIA
Assisted living facilities have been hard-hit by the coronavirus. Thankfully, Wisconsin is faring better than some states, but families of dementia patients are facing a special kind of heartache. The “no visit rule” is crushing for families and facilities that in a more normal time would be encouraging family visits.
A dementia diagnosis takes a toll on families, and the pandemic has added to that burden. Dementia patients are often confused and require physical touch to connect, and the technology that has been uniting the rest of us is unfathomable to them.
In this kind of environment, it’s reassuring to know that Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services (DHS) is working with partners across the state to implement a new Wisconsin State Dementia Plan called DEMENTIA-CAPABLE WISCONSIN.
The plan was informed by a statewide survey that took place in 2018, generating 1,600 responses from people with memory loss, family members, caregivers and professionals who work with individuals suffering from dementia.
According to research, 242,000 people in Wisconsin will be affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia by 2040, doubling from today’s numbers. This growth is at the core of DEMENTIA-CAPABLE WISCONSIN and its goal of improving the quality of life for individuals affected by dementia.
The intention of DEMENTIA-CAPABLE WISCONSIN is to prioritize the needs identified by the survey, namely:
- More options for people with dementia who are in crisis.
- Better care for people with dementia in assisted living and nursing homes.
- Greater awareness in our state about dementia and brain health.
A Steering Committee and leadership teams have been created to help in the main focus areas of communities, health care, crisis response and facilities.
In addition, a communications team will be creating a website for DEMENTIA-CAPABLE WISCONSIN. Until the website is ready you can subscribe to receive email updates.
If you’re a care facility with dementia patients, Wisconsin Caregiver Academy offers Train the Trainer courses addressing the unique challenges of dementia. Learn more.