We’ve all heard of the “silver tsunami.” And we should know that the number of boomers who will be diagnosed with memory impairment will continue to rise each year. The question remains who will care for this growing population who will no longer be able to care for themselves?
Unfortunately, it will be a problem. As Judith Graham discusses in her New York Times blog, “In Coming Decades, Fewer Caregivers,” it is unrealistic to plan on family and friends caring for our elders. An AARP report predicts a shortage not just of family or informal caregivers, but of paid, professional caregivers as well.
Thus we must prepare now, and that starts with developing appropriate memory care environments where care will be provided by trained, professional staff of all levels.
In the book, “A Way of Life: Developing an Exemplary Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Program,” I describe my 25 year experience as the founder and Executive Director of the Alois Alzheimer Center, the first facility dedicated exclusively to individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in the United States.
The book serves as a resource for providers – in all realms of healthcare – to develop genuine person centered, service-oriented care for individuals with dementia and their families. Using stories and examples, readers develop an understanding of what unique, true special care can and should be. It is possible to create an environment where life revolves around friends, socialization, self-esteem, joy, and love.