Well-being defined by people living with dementia

If you serve veterans living with dementia, this program is a must for you. Bravo Zulu: Achieving Excellence in Relationship-Centered Dementia Care, is an innovative 12-hour military cultural competence course teaching how to support veterans living with dementia. It was created through a partnership between the Veterans-in-Care initiative, the Nevada Department of Veterans Services, the Perry Foundation and Dr. Jennifer Carson, Director of Dementia Engagement, Education and Research at the University of Nevada, Reno.

In the discussion of well-being, the course looks at the Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program, a collaboration with persons living with dementia, to better understand the meaning and nature of leisure within the context of dementia. More than 200 surveys and interviews with persons living with dementia were gathered, asking questions about what brings leisure, meaning and well-being into their lives. According to their findings, when people have opportunities to engage in the following meaningful experiences, they can live well with dementia:

Being Me: Opportunities for expressing the self, for simply being, including experiences that are personally meaningful and connected with current and/or past interests 

Being With: Opportunities to be with others that foster a sense of connection and/or community

Seeking Freedom: Opportunities that provide a break from the norm; escape the stress of daily tasks and responsibilities; escape from environments that are socially and/or physically restrictive

Finding Balance: Opportunities to find or create balance between relaxation and keeping busy – too much of either is not good

Making a Difference: Opportunities to fulfill a sense of purpose; to contribute and feel helpful and valued

Growing and Developing: Opportunities to grow and develop by challenging the mind and the body, and learning new things

Having Fun: Opportunities to feel pleasure, enjoyment, happiness, playfulness, and to share a sense of humor.

If you work with people living with dementia, consider taking the research from MAREP and discussing it with them. What are their thoughts? Do they agree? Do they want to add to it? Then take a look at your community calendar together and determine ways to expand the breadth of opportunities. 

Bravo Zulu is offered four times a year for free with free CEUs thanks to the Sanford Center for Aging’s GWEP grant. Click here to sign-up. Bravo Zulu registration  

If your senior living community would like tools to help educate these concepts and more, please reach out to Inspired Senior Care to learn more. Inspired Senior Care resources

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