Living at home with dementia: a client-centered program for people with dementia and their caregivers
Poleshuck, Laura R
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The number of elderly Americans is increasing rapidly, and dementia is prevalent within this population, especially among the growing group of people over the age of 90 (National Institutes of Health, 2011; Plassman, et al., 2007). The majority of elderly people, including many with dementia, report that they would like to stay in their own homes, which is cost effective for the family and community (Keenan, 2010; Alzheimer's Association, 2012). In addition, people with dementia who live at home are happier, safer, and more independent than those who have been placed into another setting (Alzheimer's Society, 2013). However, they present with a variety of health and safety concerns which have an impact on both their own and their caregivers' quality of life (Allan, et al., 2009; Etters, et al., 2007, Gitlin, 2010). Described in this doctoral project is a caregiver- and client-centered program geared towards delaying or even avoiding long-term care placement of people with dementia by helping to increase client tranquility, independence, and safety, therefore decreasing daily challenges and caregiver feelings of burden. Through this intervention, caregivers will be empowered with skills and strategies with which to engage and support their loved one with dementia, as they are educated regarding the following elements: methods for promoting autonomy in self-care; ways of incorporating meaningful activity into the daily routine; methods for increasing home safety; and strategies for challenging behaviors. This program incorporates a personalized approach, the inclusion of meaningful activity, safe and effective strategies for daily tasks, and an introduction to technology aides and adaptive equipment. A thorough review of the literature was completed in order to ascertain the most effective strategies for addressing the problems affecting informal home caregivers. Best practices are incorporated into the group and individual session structure, and included is a detailed information packet for clients with guidance regarding each of the 14 topics included in the program: information about dementia; fall prevention at home; self-care tasks; successful mealtimes; cooking and kitchen safety; medication management; using the telephone/emergency assistance; wandering and getting lost; rummaging, hiding, and hoarding solutions; sleep strategies; meaningful activity; the preferences worksheet; life story books; and useful resources.
Thesis (O.T.D.)--Boston University