Dementia Behind Bars
Just as the general population is aging rapidly, so too is the population behind bars. The California Men's Colony, a minimum and medium security prison in California, started a pilot program in 2012 to train those who are incarcerated to become dementia aids in order to help provide 24/7 care for fellow inmates who have developed dementia while in prison. Dementia aids attend to all of an inmate's personal care and emotional needs while fostering the development of a new-found sense of purpose, empathy, and trust. To learn more about this program check out this video published by the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/video/health/100000001367225/dementia-behind-bars.html
There are many challenges caregivers face when looking after a loved one with dementia in the community. Some of these challenges include sundowning, increased confusion and agitation in the evening, and day-night reversal which leaves the individual with dementia and their caregiver on opposite sleep schedules. A nursing home in New York City runs an innovative program, titled Elderserve at Night, to help. "Many people with dementia are more alert at night than they are all day—just when their caregivers need to sleep. Rather than try to alter this mismatch, Elderserve At Night embraces it. The program is the brainchild of David Pomeranz, the executive director of the Hebrew Home, who opened the program in 1996. He says the idea came to him after hearing heartbreaking stories from struggling families. 'People were sleeping in front of doorways because they were concerned that mom or dad would wander out of the house,' Pomeranz says." To read more about this overnight camp-style respite program check out this article.
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