I would like to develop a program that basically aims at helping those individuals that have seriously lost their cognitive ability a condition referred to as dementia. In order to understand the program, individuals need to have a critical understanding of what dementia means and the symptoms associated with it.
Gastmans & Lepeleire defines dementia as the loss of cognitive ability of a Person beyond the expectations from a once normal person other than the normal aging disorders (2010, p.4). Dementia is very common with the aging individuals however it can occur at individuals below the age of 65 years (Vani Rao, 2007, p.242).
The symptoms of dementia are characterized by difficulties in many mental Functioning which may be expressed in language, perception, memory, personality and cognitive skills which includes calculations and abstract thinking. Under the normal circumstances, people suffer from forgetfulness which occurs as mild cognitive impairment (Gastmans &Lepeleire, 2010). This is the stage between the normal forgetting as a result of old age and the development of dementia. According to Vani Rao, the mild cognitive impairment does not affect the normal operations of an individual (2007). It’s only a percentage of those people with these signs who develops dementia. From the empirical research carried out on people in assisted living facilities, the signs of dementia are different from the signs of cognitive impairment (Vani Rao, 2007, p. 17). The symptoms of cognitive impairment may include forgetting conversations and recent events that have occurred, a problem in solving simple tasks and taking extraordinary more time in solving mental activities (Gastmans & Lepeleire, 2010).
Early symptoms of dementia may include loss of a route in which one is familiar with, difficulty in finding simple mental tasks like the name of an object, misplacing items, loss of interest and social skills (Vani Rao, 2007, p.20). When dementia is fully developed, its often characterized by some major symptoms which includes forgetting the current events, interference of sleeping patterns and hallucinations, delusions and depression are also the likely symptoms (Iracema, 2007, p. 234).
The goal of the program
Dementia care is regarded as a priority for all those providing care, including the assisted living thus the main goal of this program is to provide guidelines on the care of all those individuals residing in assisted living through the creation of resources and opportunities and knowledge of running the care homes in order to educate staff and enhance the increase of level of service and quality of care that is provided to dementia residents by assisted living communities.
The program is basically designed for persons-centered care which normally ensures that the individual resident’s needs are met. Decision making will only be directed by the resident and if the resident is unable to make his or her own decision then assistance will be sought from family members.
In order to cater for a diverse group of individuals the following approach should be taken into consideration by various care giving homes so as to make the program successful
Evaluations should be carried out to all those individuals entering the assisted living .This will enable identify residents suffering from dementia and having difficulties in communication thus making it a critical process. The evaluation will enable staffs to identify individual’s strength and weakness thus providing important information on how the resident’s needs could be met in a perfect way. During the evaluation the following elements should be taken into consideration: person’s medical history, current diagnosis carried out on the individual, physical abilities and limitations, mood, behavior and cognitive patterns, obstacles to thinking or communication, the status of personal grooming and preferences for situations that are social such as spiritual needs, recreation activities or physical activity
Screening of depression should be carried out in the home cares as residents with dementia are more likely to show signs of depression unlike their peers who are intact cognitively. As from research, residents with severe impairment and suffered from undiagnosed pain or behavior issues always get affected by depression. Care homes will help this people to be normal by engaging them in formalized programs and enhancing their interaction with other residents often done by the staff.
Pain evaluation and management
Since pain is normal and any one can fill it is important to evaluate pain on an ongoing basis especially for residents with dementia and this can be achieved by observing physical signs such as sighing, moaning, grimacing and slow movement.
Social engagement and life enrichment
When developing programs particularly for residents with dementia they should be based on resident’s ability to participate, strength and personal interests. For example lower functioning residents should be provided with separate recreational and social activities than their counterparts who function at a higher level.