It’s time for a revolution in dementia care

“When you put a disease before a person, it makes it much harder to provide true individualized care.” —G. Allen Power, M.D., award-winning author and geriatrician

Dr. Al Power, award-winning author and internationally renowned geriatrician, opened the 2016 Eden Alternative International Conference with his keynote address focusing on this year’s conference theme: It’s about time. Always an eloquent speaker, Al presented the audience with four points, meant to “disrupt your thinking paths,” all prefaced with, “It’s about time we…” Groundbreaking and possibly even controversial, the ideas presented here are entirely person-directed. Dr. Power presents his ideas with examples of model communities who adopted these practices—across the board, there was an increase in improved lives of elders in dementia care facilities. The video below is Al’s entire speech. Riveting and revolutionary, it is a must-watch.

Al Power’s four provocations:

  1. There must be consistent staffing
    The need for better relationships starts with stopping the rotating of care partner assignments. Keeping relationships consistent builds a level of comfort and trust between care partners.
  2. Reject BPSD and other harmful labels
    Abbreviations are dangerous and should be done away with. By labeling people in this way, human emotions have become “behaviors” that need to be controlled. The power of this language can be the difference between being given a dangerous drug or not!
  3. Desegregate memory care
    “When you put a disease before a person, it makes it much harder to provide true individualized care.” Do away with the stigma that people who have dementia need to be separated from the rest of us.
  4. Leaders must lead
    Leaders need to truly empower people, remove barriers, adopt culture change, and honor elder rights above all. Do the right thing because it is the right thing to do.

Health Professions Press offers resources to help you meet Al Power’s four challenges. Get started with these and browse our website for the full catalog of our person-centered products & services.

  1. Enhancing Staff Retention in Person-Centered Care Environments for Older Adults outlines how long-term care administrators can reverse the pattern of damaging outcomes by developing, implementing, and maintaining an effective orientation program for all levels of staff. 
  2. Revealing how drug-based interventions, completely holistic approaches, and even a combination of the two still fall short of addressing and meeting the needs of people with dementia, this book offers a proactive approach—one that challenges widely accepted dementia care practices and provides a well-being framework that can be implemented in any living environment.
  3. This revised second edition of Dementia Beyond Drugs introduces new research, language, and examples to reinforce the core message that antipsychotic medications are not the solution to ease the distress experienced by individuals living with dementia, and presents alternative solutions for providing respectful, individualized support and care. 
  4. This book offers practical, commonsense, easy-to-implement approaches that will yield immediate positive results. It also serves as a wake-up call to leaders who doubt their impact and as an affirmation to leaders who struggle daily to do a good job. Let Meeting the Leadership Challenge in Long-Term Care open the door to new possibilities and set your organization on a better course.