The Bay Area, as well as the country as a whole, is facing a crisis in dementia care. Estimates are that one of every two people 85 and older in the Bay Area has some form of dementia, and that by 2020, the region will experience a 49% increase in residents with Alzheimer’s disease, not to mention other forms of cognitive impairment.
Fortunately, JFCS’ Seniors At Home, the Bay Area’s largest provider of senior care, is leading the charge for enhanced support for people with dementia-related conditions, as well as for their families and caregivers, with the opening of the new Center for Dementia Care.
“We are thrilled to be able to meet the requests of our clients by starting this new program, which provides the specialized support needed for dementia care,” says Traci Dobronravova, MSW, Associate Director of Seniors At Home.
Two such clients are Marc and his 89-year-old mother, Lucille.
Lucille’s memory slippage has become more pronounced over the past year, and she often does not remember Marc’s regular visits. She complains that she never sees him. The new Center for Dementia Care gives Marc access to experts, who counsel him on providing better support to Lucille.
“The Center for Dementia Care social worker gave me tips so that when the never-ending cycle of ‘I saw you this morning’ and ‘No, you didn’t’ occurs, I can change the course of the conversation so that both my mother and I end up feeling better,” says Marc. “Now, when my mother tells me that she misses me, I tell her that I miss her too, but that I look forward to seeing her tomorrow. I have a clearer understanding of just how isolating it can feel to suffer from Alzheimer’s, and that part of my mother’s commentary stems from her desire to feel connected and engaged again.”
Practical support and education are just one component of the Center for Dementia Care. Now, every Seniors At Home client with a dementia-related condition can be assured of care by a homecare attendant who has received special training in providing assistance to people with Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions that result in significant cognitive impairment. In addition, the families of these clients can meet regularly with staff to discuss new changes and ongoing issues and gain emotional support in their roles as caregivers.
The Center for Dementia Care plans on developing training sessions for caring community members who wish to volunteer as friends and advocates for Seniors At Home clients with dementia.
To learn more about the Center for Dementia Care or to schedule an appointment with its staff, call 415-449-3777.