OMAHA, Neb., Sept. 2, 2015 // PRNewswire // -- Isolation can be an unfortunate reality for families taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. In a recent survey of Alzheimer's caregivers, 74 percent reported they and their loved ones have become more isolated from the community as a result of the disease. Furthermore, 85 percent reported that they feel a reduced quality of life due to isolation.1
To address this issue, the Home Instead Senior Care® network is encouraging businesses to become Alzheimer's friendly. Through its franchise locations across North America, Home Instead, Inc. is providing free in-person and online training to help equip local business owners and their employees with the education and tools necessary to welcome family caregivers who may otherwise be reluctant to take their loved ones into public places.
"When you're caring for someone with Alzheimer's, even running a simple errand such as going to the bank or grocery store can feel daunting," said Karen Garner, Alzheimer's advocate and writer of the blog Missing Jim: Confessions of an Alzheimer's wife. "Being able to go into a local business knowing staff are informed about the disease and will be welcoming to caregivers and their loved ones makes leaving the house and going out in the community much less intimidating."
The unpredictable nature of the disease is one of the biggest deterrents for many caregivers to go out in public. Citing fears that businesses – such as restaurants, shopping malls, grocery stores and boutiques – can be busy and confusing for their loved one, or that their loved one may become anxious, disruptive or disoriented and lost, 87 percent of family caregivers surveyed reported leaving the house less frequently when caring for a loved one with the disease. It's not just caregivers and their loved ones who are affected – 62 percent of surveyed caregivers reported spending less money at local businesses since becoming a caregiver.
The Alzheimer's Friendly BusinessSMtraining is provided by Home Instead Senior Care franchise locations to businesses in their communities. The free training takes approximately half an hour and consists of an information session followed by a quiz. Businesses can coordinate with their local Home Instead Senior Care franchise location to have the training administered on their own premises, at a Home Instead Senior Care office or any convenient meeting space, such as a community center or church. Free online training also is available. Businesses whose employees have successfully completed the training receive a window cling they can use to inform the public that they are an "Alzheimer's Friendly Business."
"The participation of local businesses is crucial for building Alzheimer's friendly communities and reducing the feeling of isolation," said Jeff Huber, President and CEO of Home Instead, Inc. "The training helps business owners and employees understand why it can be difficult for individuals with Alzheimer's disease and their family caregivers to go into the community, provides insight into characteristics of the disease, and offers tips to help alleviate some common behavioral issues that may arise from customers with the disease."
"As a small business owner, it is incredibly important that my pharmacy builds a reputation for serving all members of our community," said Raj Jhala, pharmacist, St. Peters Community Pharmacy. "Every one of our team members participated in the Alzheimer's Friendly Business training. We now feel more confident in our ability to support family caregivers and provide a comfortable environment for people with Alzheimer's and their families to shop."
As of 2013, there were an estimated 44.4 million people with dementia worldwide. It is predicted that this number will increase to an estimated 75.6 million in 2030 and 135.5 million in 2050, according to Alzheimer's Disease International.
"As the population ages and the prevalence of dementia increases, there's a good chance a business owner or employee will encounter a customer with this disease, if they haven't already," said Huber. "This training will help them better serve these customers and their families with the dignity and respect they deserve."
To find out more about Home Instead Senior Care network's Alzheimer's Friendly Business program, please visit www.AlzheimersFriendlyBusiness.com.
1Home Instead, Inc. surveyed 692 Alzheimer's family caregivers, including 102 from Canada and 590 from the U.S., who completed an online survey between April 13-23, 2015.
Founded in 1994 in Omaha, Nebraska, by Lori and Paul Hogan, the Home Instead Senior Care® network provides personalized care, support and education to help enhance the lives of aging adults and their families. Today, this network is the world's leading provider of in-home care services for seniors, with more than 1,000 independently owned and operated franchises that are estimated to annually provide more than 50 million hours of care throughout the United States and 14 other countries. Local Home Instead Senior Care offices employ approximately 65,000 CAREGiversSM worldwide who provide basic support services that enable seniors to live safely and comfortably in their own homes for as long as possible. The Home Instead Senior Care network strives to partner with each client and his or her family members to help meet that individual's needs. Services span the care continuum from providing companionship and personal care to specialized Alzheimer's care and hospice support. Also available are family caregiver education and support resources. At Home Instead Senior Care, it's relationship before task, while striving to provide superior quality service.
SOURCE Home Instead Senior Care