Eastern Carolina Council Area Agency on Aging (ECC-AAA) and Dementia Alliance NC partnered in September to present two free Community Dementia Workshops; one in Carteret and the other in Onslow County. Participants joined in learning more about Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. They discovered the difference between the two, explored what is happening in the brain, and how to better connect with someone living with dementia. Melanie Bunn, MS, RN, Dementia Training Specialist with Dementia Alliance of North Carolina answered caregiver questions and explored how to help people with dementia and their caregivers.
In Carteret County, ECC-AAA Family Caregiver Specialist (FCSP) presented information in Morehead City to over 25 participants who learned how to be better prepared for an emergency when caring for someone with dementia and discussed “What’s in Your To-Go Bag”. Participants received a Caregiver Emergency Readiness Guide and tools needed to be ready for any situation.
In Onslow County, ECC-AAA FCSP presented information at the Jacksonville Community Dementia Workshop to over 50 attendees who learned how to choose the appropriate technology to assist older adults and their caregivers in the home as well as in long term care. Caregivers learned how technology can assist with caregiving needs and were given an opportunity to exam assistive technology items at the event.
To learn about events in your community visit: https://dementianc.org/community-outreach/events-calendar/
Why Evidence-Based Programs?
Evidence-based programs are structured workshops and classes that have been proven through research to provide positive benefits for the people who participate in them. The have become a standard in many facets of healthcare, and social programming because they have been shown to have a difference in peoples’ lives.
At ECC, we have staff who are trained to offer workshops and to train lay-leaders in several evidence-based programs. Currently, two staff are conducting a Chronic Pain Self Management workshop in Pamlico county to help participants understand pain and learn tools to help manage life around their condition, rather than letting their condition rule their lives. Tools include physical activity, healthy eating, getting better sleep, using the mind, communication, understanding emotions, decision-making, problem-solving, action-planning, and others that help break the vicious symptom cycle around chronic pain.
Staff also train “lay-leaders” to facilitate the workshops in the community.
Other evidence-based programs offered by ECC staff include:
ECC staff will be offering leader training coming up:
Contact Andi Reese at ECC for more information
Resolving Concerns through the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program
The Long-term Care Ombudsman Program focuses on educating the community on issues effecting LTC residents. In January 2019, Eric Carlson through Justice in Aging, released the guide 25 Common Nursing Home Problems & How to Resolve Them. This guide compares common misinterpretations or practices with the clear statement of the relevant law. Each month, Region P Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program will review a problem discussed in the guide. This month, we will look at the issue regarding Resident Preferences.
Problem #3: Disregarding Resident Preferences
WHAT YOU HEAR: THE FACTS:
“WE DON’T HAVE A NURSING HOME MUST MAKE
ENOUGH STAFF TO ACCOMMODATE REASONALBE ADJUSTMENTS TO
INDIVIDUAL SCHEDULES. HONOR A RESIDENT’S NEEDS AND
YOU MUST WAKE UP AT 6 A.M. PREFERENCES
“OUR GROUP ACTIVIY IS ALWAYS BINGO.”
“IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE DINNER ENTRÉE,
YOU ONLY OPTION IS A PEANUT BUTTER SANDWICH.”
The ability to make choices is vital to a resident’s quality of life. A nursing home should feel like a home rather than a health care assembly line.
A nursing home must make reasonable adjustments to meet residents needs and preferences. For example, a resident has the right to choose activities, schedules (including sleeping and waking times), health care, and providers of health care services consistent with his or her interests, assessments, and plan of care.
The million dollar question is “What is reasonable?,” but this question has no scientific answer. Because the definition of “reasonable” is not precise, residents and family members must be prepared to explain why benefit is worth whatever inconvenience or expense may be involved.
In requesting a change, the resident or resident representative should explain why the change would be good for the resident, and why the law requires such a change. A follow-up letter is helpful, as is a copy the 25 Common Nursing Home Problems & How to Resolve Them guide. Oftentimes, the request for a change can be made in a care planning meeting. The resident or representative may wish to file a grievance if the request is not honored.
A resident council or family council can be a good place in which to organize support for a change in a nursing home’s procedures, and specifically for more person-centered care. Strength is in numbers: if an entire group of residents and family members pushes for a particular change, the nursing home is much more likely to see the light.
Hurricane Florence brought considerable devastation to eastern North Carolina in September 2018 leaving a path of destruction where many are still trying to recover to this day. In response to assist older adults with their recovery efforts, ECC-AAA applied for several recovery grants offered by those who also care and serve older adults. Immediately after the storm, United Way of Coastal Carolina provided ECC-AAA with 50 fans and $5,000 in $50 increment gift cards to distribute to those affected by the storm in the Carteret, Craven, Jones, and Pamlico areas. The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (N4A) along with Tivity Health granted ECC-AAA $3,600 to distribute $100 increment gift cards to assist older adults with recovery efforts. The South Eastern Association of Area Agencies on Aging (SE4A) was provided funding by AARP to assist with recovery efforts in North and South Carolina. ECC-AAA received two grants from SE4A; one for $6,500 where 2,168 shelf stable meals were equitably distributed to our nutrition providers in our nine counties and the second was for $10,000 to assist older adults with recovery efforts in purchasing needed materials for repairs and replacing household items lost or damaged by the storm. ECC-AAA has received referrals from partnering agencies assisting in recovery efforts as well as referrals from our community service providers who have identified the older adults as needing help with recovery. Assisting these older adults in getting back at least some of what they have lost has been one of the ways ECC has made an impact with recovery efforts in our region. Below are a few of the stories of those we have helped and how these recovery funds have made an impact on their lives.
In Craven County, ECC-AAA received a referral from the Back at Home program through Endeavors, an organization that specializes in assisting vulnerable people in crisis, connected us with an older adult that lost everything during the hurricane. Katherine H of Bridgeton, NC lost her rented mobile home and all its contents due to the storm. Nothing in her home was salvageable and the only thing that she had were the clothes on her back. She lost her car at the beginning of the approaching storm when she evacuated her mobile home in Bridgeton seeking a shelter and needing gasoline. There was no gasoline to be found so she parked her car where it finally ran out of gas near downtown New Bern and contacted a church friend who graciously picked her up in the midst of the storm and took her to a shelter. Her car succumbed to the storm and it too was lost. Katherine found herself unemployed, as her place of employment received storm damage, and she found herself homeless after the shelters closed. Katherine found temporary places to stay, including staying in laundromats, until she finally received assistance from Endeavors. Endeavors connected Katherine with an apartment in New Bern and was able to provide her with some home furnishings. Endeavors learned about the assistance ECC-AAA was offering through Craven County Disaster Recovery Alliance (CCDRA) and contacted us seeking assistance in piecing Katherines life back together. ECC-AAA met with Katherine and Michelle, case manager from Endeavors, to discuss her needs. Katherine was in desperate need of clothes, transportation, a cell phone, clothes washer, employment, and various household items for cooking and daily living. ECC-AAA was able to immediately connect Katherine with food from Religious Community Services (RCS) and also introduced her to the senior center in New Bern sharing with her all the services/programs available to her as an older adult. With a budget of $500 ECC-AAA was able to provide Katherine with a portable clothes washer, clothes, shoes, kitchen and household items, a cell phone to assist her with seeking employment, and a bike so she has a means of transportation. Katherine was very excited and gracious to receive the help from ECC and is very well on her way to recovery. She has been able to gain employment and rides her bike to and from work.
In Wayne County, Diane S. was impacted by Hurricane Florence when the winds ripped most of her homes roof off causing major water damage to the home she has lived in for over 30 years. Due to the damage, Diane was not able to rescue most of the contents and was forced to seek housing elsewhere until repairs can be completed. She too has had to start all over in re-acquiring all those items lost during the storm including clothes, shoes, and household items. Most of the furnishings in her home perished as they began to develop mold and mildew and was forced to purge them. Diane, like many people in recovery from the storm with few resources, sought help from local agencies finally connecting with Endeavors who assisted her with case management and was able to provide housing assistance along with some home contents. Endeavors contacted ECC-AAA as they were aware of our resource in assisting older adults. After a meeting with Diane to determine her needs and a budget of $400, Diane felt her biggest need was a bed. ECC-AAA was able to purchase a mattress and box spring from a furniture store in Goldsboro. ECC-AAA picked up the mattress and box spring and delivered it to Diane’s apartment where she is staying until her home is repaired. With very little furniture in her new temporary apartment, Diane was very excited to have a new bed and expressed how this meant the world to her. Diane is getting closer to recovering from the storm as the home repairs and methods to pay for the repairs are finally coming together and soon, she will be back in her home.
We continue to assist older adults to recover from Hurricane Florence and continue to field referrals connecting the older adults to resources and acquiring items that are needed to help make their lives a little better. ECC-AAA has assisted over 100 older adults affected by Hurricane Florence with gift cards, household items, and appliances and look forward to assisting as many as we can until the grant funding is exhausted.