More than 5 million people in the United States are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease. By the year 2050, it is estimated there could be well over one billion individuals globally living with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. Leaders are stymied at the sheer number of daily diagnoses and specialized care required for this population. Currently, many families are strained with providing around-the-clock specialized care for which they never trained for nor expected to provide. All of this is resulting in billions of dollars in lost wages for family members who are taking on the responsibility of Alzheimer’s and dementia care.
There is a growing field of Alzheimer’s coaching, which can provide coordination of an interdisciplinary team of professionals focused on the well-being of the person with Alzheimer’s as well as her/his family caregivers. A key component to this service model is to treat family caregivers with respect as primary caregivers even after in home caregiving no longer can be provided.
Alzheimer’s coaching is a niche in professional coaching that specializes in coaching professionals and non-professionals. Alzheimer’s coaches bring specialized training to support positive outcomes with in home care and alternative long-term residential care options. In addition, these coaches are aware of the components and costs of specialized, whether in home or in facilities.
Alzheimer’s coaches typically:
- Manage and maintain partnership agreements between professionals and non-professionals.
- Use a specially designed coaching technique to facilitate the client’s own thought processes in order to identify coachable issues and actions leading to improved work/life benefits.
- Support the coaching client in setting reasonable goals and methods of assessing progress in relation to their professional/personal needs.
- Observe, listen and ask coaching questions to clarify the client’s situation.
- Creatively apply tools and techniques to teach one-on-one or group training that provides the best possible service outcomes.
- Invite others to commit to action and establish growth/change.
- Maintain unconditional positive regard for each client or person encountered by being supportive and non-judgmental concerning someone’s views, lifestyle or aspirations.
- Serve as a mentor/partner to families who are caring for a person with Alzheimer’s or dementia and their caregivers.
- Evaluate the outcome of the coaching process on a regular basis by using objective measures wherever possible.
- Follow acceptable ethical and coaching policy guidelines established by the International Coach Federation (ICF).
- Work only within their area of competency and within the boundaries of professional responsibilities. Keep up-to-date with findings, research, and improvements in the care of persons living with Alzheimer’s and dementias.
- Familiarity with guidelines and regulations affecting the healthcare industry for in-home and out-of-home services.
- Promote the best possible approaches to prevent burnout in caregivers and to continuously bring news, well researched, ideas to always find better ways to engage those who are affected by Alzheimer’s and dementias.
Earlier in 2014, the International Caregivers Association (ICA) was founded by my colleague, Dr. Ethelle Lord, who is a world renowned Alzheimer’s coach. You are encouraged to check out the resources and learn more about the field of Alzheimer’s coaching at internationalcaregiversassociation.com.