Thirty-four percent of residents in assisted living and other residential care facilities have Alzheimer’s or other dementias, according to data from the Alzheimer’s Association. For assisted living providers, dementia training has been shown to enhance quality of care, reduce staff burnout, and improve empathy and understanding, which ultimately improves satisfaction of residents and their families. Providing excellent customer service is an established way of building reputation and boosting occupancy rates for assisted living communities. But for many providers, finding the resources for dementia training can be challenging.
The growing need for direct care workers
The population of Americans over age 65 is increasing as the baby boomers age. In turn, the number of people with dementias is also expected to increase, exacerbating the existing shortage of direct care workers in the long-term care field. Stress and burnout of staff leads to higher turnover and can compromise the quality of care.
At the same time, across the country states have passed or are considering laws requiring dementia training in assisted living. Many of these laws apply not only to staff providing direct care but to those in other areas such as housekeeping, front desk, and maintenance, too. Some assisted living communities are also providing dementia training for family members and emergency responders, too.
Why is dementia training important?
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “Inadequate training for direct care workers perpetuates their mischaracterization as ‘low-skill’ workers, fails to prepare them for the complexity and challenges of their role, undermines job satisfaction and retention, and directly impacts the provision of dementia care.” Furthermore, cultural differences among racial and ethnic groups also play a role in their knowledge, concern, and stigma of dementia, as caregivers and as people with dementia. Dementia training in assisted living can establish a basis of knowledge so that staff members have a foundation of knowledge and skills training to interact successfully with residents with dementia and their families.
Flexibility in learning
For many assisted living providers, learning management systems (LMS) like SeniorLivingU’s Anytime Learning Portal offer the ideal balance of quality dementia training for staff that is convenient and cost-effective. Employees can easily access their training and work at their own pace whenever they have time and wherever they are. Managers can track progress and verify completion. In most cases, the cost of using the Anytime Portal is less expensive than buying hard copy materials.
Available Alzheimer’s and dementia courses include:
- Introduction to Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease
- Alzheimer’s-Related Agitation
- Alzheimer’s-Related Wandering
- Care for Residents with Vascular Dementia
- Caregiver Approaches
- Communicating with Residents
- Creating a Safe Environment
In-service refresher courses and dementia training DVDs offer additional opportunities to keep staff up-to-date.
For the full range of dementia training courses and additional resources, visit our Alzheimer’s resource page.
Professional training from the experts at SeniorLivingU
Developed by experts in senior care, SeniorLivingU provides educational solutions for staff training on a wide range of subjects and in a variety of product types to meet your needs. These include our popular Anytime Learning Portal, manuals, and DVDs.