Below are resources for professionals who regularly work with individuals with dementia or may interact with them in highly stressful situations. There are resources for you as well as family members and caregivers to help make your job easier and more importantly make your next interaction with someone with dementia a positive interaction for all involved. It’s not going to be easy but there are many resources and training materials and opportunities available!
Watch the videos below for a few tips right off the bat about working with individuals with dementia. The first discusses dementia related behaviors and the second provides a few tips for working with individuals with dementia in a stressful situation. No matter what you do, you probably will experience one of these situations. We hope these videos spur your curiosity to discover what else you can do to work better with individuals with dementia.
Teepa Snow: Challenging Behavior
The following videos were created by the Milwaukee County Department on Aging to highlight what these different scenarios are like in the eyes of a person with dementia. We hope you learn from them and do what you can to make your next encounter with someone with dementia positive and productive for all involved!
- Through the Eyes of a Person With Dementia: Mobile Crisis
- Through the Eyes of a Person with Dementia: Emergency Department
- Through the Eyes of a Person with Dementia: Residential Care
- Through the Eyes of a Person with Dementia: First Responders
- Through the Eyes of a Person with Dementia: Caregiving At Home
- Through the Eyes of Person with Dementia: A Visit to the Doctor
Dementia Crisis Decision Tree
Where do you refer someone with dementia and their loved ones for help in a crisis situation? What if it’s not a crisis but they need non-emergency help and connection? Click here to download and print this tree to use as a resource in a pinch and know where you and the person you are serving can turn to for help.
Helplines available for individuals in crisis, outside of normal business hours.
- Polk County Mental Health Crisis Line: 888-552-6642
- Burnett County Mental Health Crisis Line: 888-636-6655
- Alzheimer’s Association Helpline: 800- 272-3900
The Alzheimer’s Association provides information, resources, and education on Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
Approaching Alzheimer’s : First Responder Training
The Alzheimer’s Association provides a training– in person (when coordinated with your local community outreach specialist) or online–for first responders called Approaching Alzheimer’s : First Responder Training. Click here to learn more about the workshop or call the Alzheimer’s Association at 800-272-3900 to find out who your local representative is. A certificate of completion is provided to each professional that completes the class.
Dementia Friendly America
Dementia Friendly America is a national movement to foster the creation of dementia-friendly communities around the nation. Check out the tools and videos pages for providers.
The ADRC of Northwest Wisconsin is now an approved Dementia Live provider. Dementia Live is an interactive program that provides individuals the opportunity to experience what it is like to have dementia. This is a wonderful tool for community members, caregivers, family members and professionals to utilize to gain a better understanding of what their loved one or the person they are working with is going through daily. Learn to communicate more effectively, become more aware of the sensory changes that occur with different types of dementia, and ultimately provide better care to your loved one. Because it’s frightening to care for someone you don’t understand. Coordinate a Dementia Live Experience/Training by calling the ADRC of Northwest Wisconsin at 877-485-2372.
Healthcare professionals can get tips and resources from the Alzhiemer’s Association’s Healthcare Professionals webpage.
Dementia Professional Library
In partnership with the Polk County Behavioral Health Department, the ADRC now manages a lending library for professionals featuring a variety of Teepa Snow DVD’s. Use to further your own education or to provide staff education. Borrow for free. See the flyer below for a list of the DVD’s available. Call the ADRC ahead of time to ensure we have the resource you are looking for on hand.
WITC Gerontology-Aging Services Professional Pathways
WITC is offering programs specifically designed to equip you with the tools to better serve the aging population and individuals with dementia. Click here for details.
Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute
The Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute provides educational opportunities for physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, psychologists, residents, medical students, and other health care professionals to learn about the diagnosis and management of dementing disorders. Visit WAI: Education Program for more information.
Teepa Snow is one of the leading educators on dementia and the care that accompanies it, in the US and Canada. She founded a company, Positive Approach to Care (PAC), and an approach to support and engage people experiencing changes in brain functions. She created the GEMS States model for brain change. She has a number of videos–some short ones available on her website at teepasnow.com and some available for purchase. A few of her videos are available for loan through the ADRC Lending Library (contact the ADRC at 877-485-2372 for more info). She also provides trainings and certifications for professionals.
File of Life
Medical emergencies can happen anytime. When they do, there is confusion, panic and urgency. Paramedics arrive on the scene with no information about the person in need. When seconds count the File of Life can make the difference between life and death. Does the patient have prior medical conditions? Allergies? What medications are they taking? Who do they want us to call? How do we contact their family or friends? File of Life puts these answers at their fingertips. It allows first responders to immediately begin the best possible treatment, notify loved ones, and pass this vital data on to awaiting physicians at the emergency room.
At the ADRC of Northwest Wisconsin we provide this magnet pouch for those we serve to complete and hang on their refrigerator to help them be better prepared for a medical emergency. We encourage other entities to purchase and make these available to those they serve. File of Life magnet pouches can be purchased at https://www.folife.org/ . We have edited the information card slightly to include some additional information our Transition of Care Coalition team (made up of local home care provides, healthcare facilities and county staff) determined was also important for first responders and hospital staff to know. In addition, we have added important questions related to dementia. Contact the ADRC of Northwest Wisconsin at 877-485-2372 for more information about our revised insert.