Advocacy, Toward better care, Videos

7 ways to improve dementia care in less than three minutes

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:

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2 thoughts on “7 ways to improve dementia care in less than three minutes”

  1. Thank you, Joanna LaFleur, for putting the person before profit. We need to do more than give lip-service to person-centred care, we have to DO it! Increasing staff ratios in order to achieve this doesn’t necessarily mean increasing the number of care aides, it can mean teaching all levels of staff on how to be part of person-centred care, so everyone participates in improving the lives of those living in our homes. There’s more to care than taking care of the physical needs. The person needs to come before the task and there’s much “non-care” staff can help with. There’s no reason why they can’t all be trained to assist someone with meals; with engaging residents in conversation; in providing moments of joy with a smile and a hug, or an opportunity to have purpose (i.e. ask the former auto mechanic advice on maintaining your vehicle, have the avid gardener help plant flowers and pull weeds), etc.


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