The Life Plan community will provide dementia de-escalation training, simulations

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A Virginia Lifeplan community will use a $23,750 local grant to train emergency responders and elder care providers on dementia behavior de-escalation practices while exposing its staff to what c is to live with dementia.

Kendal in Lexington, affiliated with Kendal Corp., received the Rockbridge Community Health Foundation grant in collaboration with Carilion Rockbridge Community Hospital for its “Community Experts on Dementia and Aging” project. The foundation provides grants to local organizations to support health and wellness programs.

Lexington, VA, police, firefighters, emergency personnel and senior service providers will receive Dementia Capable Care Training. Such teaching uses a model of cognitive impairment therapy and a model of person-centered care to provide caregivers with tools that help support people in various stages of dementia.

The program provides participants with an understanding of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, an understanding of the stages of dementia, approaches to maximizing independence and quality of life, appropriate communication skills, and an understanding of the complexity behavioral challenges and effective responses.

The goal, according to Kendal, is to shift attention away from the illness itself and a person’s lost abilities, to focus on the individual’s uniqueness and remaining abilities.

Kendal plans to train 60 employees and 60 community professionals. Training will take place at fire stations, police stations and other locations.

The grant will also be used to organize virtual dementia tours for 150 staff and potentially 120 community members. The program includes a simulation of the difficulties people with dementia experience when trying to perform daily tasks.

Kendal to Lexington CEO Jan Bigelow said the exercise helps participants deepen their understanding of how to support people with dementia.

“This venture helps Kendal in Lexington achieve our strategic goals of being an expert on aging and dementia, and expand our relationships with the wider community,” Bigelow said.

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