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How to Help Inspire an Alzheimer’s Friendly Business Community

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August 31, 2015

Wheelchair ramps. Gluten-free menus. Family friendly restrooms. Businesses and other public places have made huge strides over the past few decades to accommodate customers and community members who have special needs. However, while the number of people with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias is growing exponentially, most businesses do not yet fully understand the unique needs and behaviors of people with the disease or how to appropriately interact with them.

Maybe you have witnessed this lack of understanding and thought, as one Home Instead Senior Care® CAREGiverSM put it, “So many times I wish I could educate people about how to relate to these beautiful people!”

Well, now you can.

Introducing The Alzheimer’s Friendly Business Program

To bring dementia awareness to the business community and encourage all types of businesses to learn how to better serve people with Alzheimer’s and their families, Home Instead, Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care network, has created the Alzheimer’s Friendly BusinessSM program.

This free training program is designed to help business owners and their employees better understand Alzheimer’s disease and learn techniques to treat customers who have a dementia illness with compassion and respect.

The training teaches broad concepts to help transform a business into an Alzheimer’s friendly establishment and also specific techniques for serving customers with dementia, such as:

  • Approach the customer slowly from the front and make eye contact
  • Use a comforting tone of voice
  • Offer limited choices if the customer appears overwhelmed; for example, if a restaurant customer cannot decide what to order, offer a choice of three menu items instead of going over the whole menu

Help Local Businesses Serve Your Clients

The Alzheimer’s Friendly Business program is a way to help you advocate for your senior clients and their families. Seek out businesses that display the “Alzheimer’s Friendly Business” seal. If your favorite businesses have not yet become Alzheimer’s friendly, talk to the manager about offering this valuable free training to employees.

The program includes:

  • A free online course (approximately 30 minutes in length) or
  • Free downloadable training materials to hold in-person trainings with staff members, including:
    • Trainer guide
    • Trainer instructions with quiz key
    • Participant workbook
    • Alzheimer’s friendly business scenarios
    • Participant quiz
    • Certificate of completion to display in your business

Alzheimer’s Friendly Businesses Help Reduce Risk of Isolation 

In a recent Home Instead, Inc. survey of Alzheimer’s family caregivers, 74 percent said they and their loved one have become more isolated as a result of the disease. Furthermore, 85 percent of these respondents said their quality of life had declined.

While many factors can contribute to the increased isolation, businesses can help reduce the risk of isolation and promote positive social interactions by fostering a friendly atmosphere for people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.

Alzheimer’s Friendly Businesses Improve Quality of Life 

For family caregivers and people with Alzheimer’s, staying connected to the community can greatly improve quality of life. Social interactions can stave off feelings of isolation. Fresh air and sunshine can thwart depression. Simply consuming a meal in a restaurant can elevate a caregiver’s mood.

Businesses that strive to become more Alzheimer’s friendly demonstrate their efforts toward inclusiveness and to serving as many members of their community as possible. You can help promote this concept by spreading the word about the free Alzheimer’s Friendly Business program.

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Thoughts and stories from others
  1. September 29, 2015 at 12:38 pm | Posted by Maryan Daily

    You are doing such wonderful things - Have tired to write you many times but they never go through - going to try one more time. Lived through 8 years with Alz. husband, and have had an Alz. support group for over 11 yrs. Heard it all ! However, what you are doing only reaches a small portion of people - please try to get it on TV and newspapers - a monthly column perhaps. Still millions that do not know what Alzheimer's is - and they suffer so much more - everyone needs to hear there is help out there..... Hope this one goes through !!!!


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