Dementia Capable Support in Saskatchewan
by Lori Morphy, SARC Trainer/Resource Developer
Recently, SARC was pleased to partner with the National Task Group (NTG) Canadian Consortium to offer a workshop and Train-the-Trainer session for NTG Dementia Capable Care of Adults with Intellectual Disabilities.
This is the first time this training has been offered in Saskatchewan. It was a full house at SARC’s training centre as people from across the province attended the two-day workshop, as well as the Train-the-Trainer session to become NTG Canada Affiliated Provincial Trainers.
Everyone who attended gained a wealth of information about healthy aging and supporting people experiencing disability with dementia. Some of the information learned in the session included:
What can we expect as the people we support are aging?
- Most adults experiencing disability will go through the same age-related changes and have the same risk of developing dementia as any aging adult. According to the Government of Canada, 7.1% of Canadians over the age of 65 will experience dementia.
- People with Down syndrome, however, tend to experience conditions related to aging at a much younger age, and have a higher risk of developing dementia. According to the National Down Syndrome Society, estimates show that Alzheimer’s disease affects 30% of people who have Down syndrome in their 50’s and up to 50% for people in their 60’s.
What does this mean for the Disability Service sector?
- It’s important to focus on healthy aging strategies for everyone you support. This includes eating well, staying active, participating in social activities, getting adequate sleep, and regular health check-ups.
- Staff should learn how to recognize the early signs of dementia and what that may look like for people you support. A key part of this is understanding each person’s baseline, or what is typical for that person day-to-day, so that changes can be identified more easily.
- Supporting people who are experiencing dementia requires a shift in thinking and approach. There are many useful strategies that staff can use when supporting someone with dementia, particularly if they are facing changes in behaviour.
- There are many ways that organizations can adapt environments to be dementia capable, which will allow people to safely stay in their own homes as they age.
Supporting people experiencing disability and dementia is becoming more common in the Disability Service sector. The people we support are aging, and organizations are looking for information and strategies so they can continue to provide the best support possible.
Want to learn more? SARC now has an NTG – Canada Provincial Trainer on staff and we look forward to offering training opportunities on this topic. Stay tuned for more information.
For more information and resources about dementia and dementia capable support, please visit the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan and the National Task Group on Intellectual Disabilities and Dementia Practices.