Making Meaningful Connections

Grant prepares Hospice employee Amanda Landis for the Virtual Dementia Tour, a simulation of what one experiences with dementia.

“It’s hard for any of us to fathom how someone else’s mind works, and it’s especially challenging to get into the mindset of someone with dementia,” commented Grant Parmer, Memory Support Aide at Hospice & Community Care.

But, luckily for our patients and families we are working to change that with the help of Grant.

Through The Nancy M. & H. Carter Clements Dementia Care Endowment Fund, Hospice & Community Care created the Memory Support Aide position in early 2018. One of the only memory support positions community-wide, Grant works in collaboration with hospice physicians, nurses and social workers to provide supportive care for dementia patients. Grant’s essential roles are providing personal care, socialization and stimulation based on a patient’s interests, abilities and needs.

“It’s very hard to watch the person you love begin to change so completely,” commented Sue Clements, the daughter of Nancy and Carter Clements and creator of the Endowment Fund. “Being able to understand what the person is going through and knowing how to preserve the quality of their life and yours is crucial to managing their care. The Memory Support Aide position is essential in ensuring that patients and families get the care, comfort and education they need when they need it most.”

Getting His Start
“Growing up, I spent a lot of time with my great-grandmother,” commented Grant. “Seeing how dementia impacted her life gave me a better understanding of how to make a connection with her as her disease progressed. Since then, my grandmother has been also diagnosed with dementia. I now have a better ability to better understand and support her in a sensitive and compassionate way. I am fortunate to be able to use these skills to support Hospice & Community Care’s patients as well.”

Prior to becoming the Memory Support Aide, Grant worked in the dementia wing of a personal care facility; later joining Hospice & Community Care in 2017 as a hospice aide. “When the Memory Support Aide position became available, I knew it was the right fit,” commented Grant. “It was a way to mix my skills and passion.”

When to Consider Dementia Care
“I am consulted by hospice team members to see patients with dementia or senile degeneration who are experiencing behaviors,” commented Grant. “Often I am asked to see these patients if the team believes I may be able to help support those experiencing restlessness, anxiety and/or combativeness. I can also be helpful in supporting and educating the family.”

If your loved one has been diagnosed with dementia and has been given a limited life expectancy, Hospice & Community Care’s Supportive Care program may be able to help.

The Future of Dementia Care at Hospice & Community Care
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 5 million Americans are living with a form of dementia. With this number continuing to grow, it is critical for us to have the care and education in place to meet the growing needs of our patients and families. The creation of the Memory Support Aide position is just one of the ways we are helping to make a difference.

For more information, click here or call (717) 391-2421 or (844) 422-4031.

Many of us know a family member or friend who is suffering with a form of dementia. Check out these tips to help you successfully communicate and interact with your loved ones.

  • Slow Down – We are a society that is always on the go and for someone with a cognitive impairment it takes them longer to process conversations. Take the time to speak clearly, be patient and don’t get frustrated.
  • Establish a Connection – A person with dementia has limited peripheral vision so it’s important to approach them from the front and make eye contact. Approaching them from the side may startle them and cause them to lash out. You may also want to hold their hand or caress their face to help them feel comforted and connected with you during your visit.
  • Step Away – It’s only natural to get frustrated at times with someone with dementia. Excuse yourself for a few moments to collect yourself. Step out of the room, try breathing exercises or think of something pleasant. When you have taken the necessary time to regroup, then re-engage with your loved one.