Be Alzheimer’s-Friendly to the Public

by RaeAnne Marsh

shutterstock_313159637Enabling public-facing businesses to better serve a consumer population dealing with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, Home Instead Senior Care last month rolled out a special Alzheimer’s Friendly BusinessSM training program. “The unpredictable nature of the disease is one of the biggest deterrents to going out in public,” says Rey Graf, client care representative with the local franchise operation. A recent national survey by the franchise company found “a lot of families are just staying home — and becoming isolated,” she explains.

Building on the company’s hands-on experience working with these families, HISC developed the program for banks, restaurants, grocery stores — all those who would be working with the public coming to their place of business — to create better awareness of the disease; educate owners, management and employees as to what the disease is and is not; and provide them with tools to welcome family caregivers who may otherwise be reluctant to take their loved ones into public places. Tips include speaking more slowly (not louder), creating a quiet space where appropriate, and using more body language.

Trainings will be offered once monthly through December at each franchise office (one in Mesa, one in Sun Lakes). Larger businesses can arrange to have a trainer come to them, and, for businesses that would need to accommodate multiple work shifts, HISC offers train-the-trainer sessions along with presentation collateral. Material is also readily available on the HISC website.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s disease in the United States is estimated to reach 7.1 million by 2025 — a 40 percent increase from the 5.2 million people age 65 and older affected in 2016. In Arizona alone, nearly 130,000 seniors live with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, and the number is expected to grow by nearly 54 percent, to 200,000 people, by 2025.


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