Okay, I admit it; the title of this post is a little deceiving. There are indeed seven ways to improve dementia care in the article, but we’ll only touch on them in the video below in less than three minutes. Implementing them will probably take at least three decades if not more! Still, there is hope for making them happen when you’ve got firecrackers like Joanna LaFleur on the task.
LaFleur worked in various types of traditional dementia care facilities for 10 years. She saw things she didn’t like. Things like neglect and abuse. She spoke up, and tried to create change, but with little success.
“People don’t really like it when you don’t like what they’re doing. So I got a lot of flack for that, and I got fired a few times,” LaFleur said when I interviewed her.
But that didn’t deter her. If anything, it further ignited LaFleur’s desire to change things. She decided to go into the care business herself. She created Dementia Specialists Homecare in 2014, and then opened her first long-term care home, Memory Lane Assisted Living, in Ypsilanti, Michigan, in 2016. The following year, she closed the home care side of the business and opened a second care home, also in Ypsilanti, about a mile away from the first.
A young, enthusiastic, passionate and determined entrepreneur, LaFleur is outspoken about what needs to change to make dementia care what it should be. When I asked her what she felt was required going forward, she didn’t hesitate to name seven key points:
1) Provide proper in-depth dementia care training
2) Tap into great resources (e.g. Teepa Snow)
3) Make training ongoing & compulsory
4) Deliver person-centered care
5) Give people a reason to live
6) Improve staffing ratios
7) Don’t be greedy!
Watch the less-than-three-minute (2:47 to be exact) clip to get a taste of LaFleur’s contagious energy: