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A nurse working with an elderly patient to regain her strength and prevent further injury

An Ounce of Prevention Goes a Long Way

According to the World Health Organization, 47.5 million people worldwide currently have dementia and there are 7.7 million new cases each year. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia and may account for 60-70% of cases.

Those living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD), will commonly express negative emotions and frustration when they can no longer communicate their preferences and needs through commonly used channels. If the person’s needs are left unmet, aggression, wandering, and depression can ensue. By responding to their needs with person-centered engagement in creative and collaborative ways, we can promote a better experience for the resident and care partner.

In the  current medical model, our default response to unwanted behaviors has been to prescribe high cost and inappropriate anti-psychotic drugs instead of using more effective and budget friendly strategies focusing on person-centered preventive interventions. This can result in overuse of drugs, decreased satisfaction for staff and older adults and an increase in compliance risks.

The cost of a monthly antipsychotic drug prescription is around $350 USD per individual and more than 16% of nursing home residents in the US currently use at least one of these types of drugs. According to Alzheimer’s Disease International, the total estimated worldwide cost of dementia in 2015 was $818 billion USD.

There are many reasons why person-centered engagement with those experiencing ADRD can seem like such an insurmountable obstacle. For instance, family members may live too far away to visit frequently and staff may not have the knowledge or resources they need to create preventative person-centered plans for life enrichment.

With these obstacles in mind, Linked Senior has created an evidence-based guide for care partners in senior living communities so they can effectively engage and communicate with those living with ADRD. Our Dementia Care Cue Cards, are an easy-to-use guide that helps staff learn about preventative life enrichment interventions that focus on deeply knowing each person living with ADRD to ensure their needs and unique preferences are being met.

This is only one resource among many that Linked Senior can provide your community. If you wish to learn more about how life enrichment best practices and technology can promote person-centered care in a cost-effective way, feel free to contact us.

Charles de Vilmorin is the CEO and co-founder of Linked Senior, Inc., a leading life enrichment platform for the senior care market.

Read More: Incorporating Non-Pharmacological Interventions

May 4, 2017