Dementia care is a growing challenge


and Medical treatment is very limited. 


Muisc, Videos, and Photos Can Ease Symptoms


And Technology Can Enhance Personal Reminiscing.


The Need for Caregivers

A Majority of People with Dementia are Living at Home

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There is a growing number of people that are living with Alzheimer's Disease or a related dementia and need care services. An estimated 81% of those individuals are living in the community and relying on the help of family members, friends, or other unpaid caregivers.


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The Family Caregiver Burden

People living with dementia generally need more support from their caregivers than those living with other illnesses. In addition to coordinating appointments and care tasks, dementia caregivers must also cope with challenging behavioral and psychological symptoms.

These care challenges can dramatically impact caregiver wellbeing - dementia caregivers report a significantly higher rate of depression and physical health issues compared to other caregivers.


The Professional Caregiver Shortage

The number of family caregivers is expected to decline over time due to ongoing trends toward smaller families, more divorce, and more geographic dispersion.

Meanwhile, the number of people that need care and want to remain living in their homes, is rapidly increasing. The bureau of labor identifies home care as one of the nation’s fastest growing occupations, with an additional million workers needed by 2026. From there, the demand will likely increase, as the older population continues to grow.

 As the number of older adults continues to rise, the caregiver shortage will likely intensify.

As the number of older adults continues to rise, the caregiver shortage will likely intensify.

Many home care businesses struggle to staff caregivers to meet the increasing demand. The industry average of over 60% turnover is considerably higher than other small businesses.

The high rate of caregiver turnover can be attributed to low wages, unpredictable hours, and difficult working conditions. Caring for someone with cognitive or physical impairments can be extremely taxing, and many prospective caregivers are choosing employment opportunities with similar pay and a less stressful setting, such as big box retail or fast food.

 

How we help?

Our team develops educational resources that inspire, motivate, and inform dementia caregivers.

ENHANCING CARE WITH REMINISCING & MUSIC

People Live with Dementia for Years, Medications Offer Little Relief

Life expectancy for a person with dementia can vary considerably based on type of dementia, age, and other health conditions. On average, a person lives 4-10 years after diagnosis, but can live as long as 20 years.

Many families turn to medications to help with challenging symptoms. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two types of drugs specifically to treat symptoms of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias:

  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors
  • Memantine

Unfortunately, these drugs can't cure or stop the progression of the disease, and efficacy varies from person to person. The greatest effect seems to be appreciated in the first few months of therapy, and there is no clinical evidence that these drugs work beyond one year.

 Most people with dementia live for years, while the effects of medication to relieve symptoms only last months.

Most people with dementia live for years, while the effects of medication to relieve symptoms only last months.

There are currently no FDA approved drugs to treat difficult behaviors, such as agitation, aggressive behavior, delusions, or restlessness. However, it is common for medications - mainly antipsychotics - to be prescribed off-label to manage behaviors. These drugs have significant side effects and are often prescribed in excessive doses. Almost universally, dementia care experts recommend non-drug approaches, such as socialization and music, as the best option for coping with challenging behaviors.


 Reminiscing, Music Improves Quality of Life

Despite the lack of compelling drugs for dementia, there is one form of treatment that has proven effective and safe - personalized reminiscing. Reminiscence therapy for dementia care involves recalling past events, encouraging socialization, and engaging a person with familiar images, videos, music, scents, and foods.

One form of reminiscence therapy - personalized music - has proved especially effective.  Countless studies have demonstrated the therapeutic effects of individualized music for those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia, including:

  • Improved communication and attention
  • Improved physical functioning
  • Decreased anxiety and depression
  • Decreased agitation and aggressive behaviors
  • Decreased admissions to acute care in hospital, psychiatric ER
  • Decreased use of psychotropic drugs
  • Improved caregiver confidence

Another major benefit is that there are no negative side effects associated with the use of personalized music as a therapeutic tool.

 

How we help?

Our team develops customized engagement programs by leveraging affordable technologies for reminiscing and music.

Tablets in Dementia Care

The Impact of Tablets in Assisted Living, Nursing Homes, and Home Care

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Over the past two years, our team has worked with a wide variety of care organizations to deploy hundreds of tablets across a wide variety of care settings. The following outcomes are based on the results of 800+ caregiver surveys. Approximately 60% of the surveys were submitted by caregivers working in long-term care facilities, while 40% of the surveys were submitted by in-home caregivers.

Participating caregivers had access to a managed tablet that was pre-configured with training resources and recommended apps for dementia care. The caregivers were required to complete approximately 2 hours of training on how to use recommended apps and best practices for engagement. 


Tablets Help Caregivers Manage Moods

Caregivers submitted digital surveys on tablet engagement outcomes. Prior to engagement, caregivers were prompted to take note of the care recipient's mood. Likewise, they were prompted to record the mood at the end of session.

Caregivers had the option of selecting from three mood categories:

  • Positive moods - joyful, happy, or relaxed
  • Neutral moods - indifferent
  • Negative moods - sad, confused, anxious, or angry

Prior to engagement, approximately two thirds of the participants were in a negative or neutral mood. Following engagement sessions, there was a dramatic shift; over 90% of caregiver sessions resulted in a positive mood outcome.

 

Mood Prior to Engagement Sessions

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Mood Following Engagement Sessions

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A Majority of Sessions Involved Personalized Music, Photos, and Videos

Caregivers had the option of utilizing a wide variety of apps, but a few select music, video, and image apps accounted for a vast majority of engagement sessions.

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Apps were organized into the following categories:

  • Music apps- YouTube, iTunes, Spotify, Pandora
  • Search (Videos & Images) - YouTube, Google, Instagram
  • Art & Games- Variety of art, card, word, and number games
  • Communication- FaceTime, Skype, Google Duo
  • Other- Variety of learning, relaxation, and entertainment apps

Care staff noted that music, photo, and video apps were most beneficial because they were easiest to personalize, and the care recipient could enjoy the content without having to interact directly with the device.

 

How we help?

Our team purchases, configures, manages, and supports tablets for caregivers.