ATLANTA, Ga. (March 19, 2013) – The following is a statement by geriatric specialist P.K. Beville, M.S., founder of Second Wind Dreams® and creator of the Virtual Dementia Tour®, a scientifically proven method of training designed to build sensitivity and awareness in individuals caring for those with dementia.
“Today’s report issued by the Alzheimer’s Association – and the disturbing news that Alzheimer's deaths continue to rise and increased 68 percent from 2000-2010 – puts into clear focus the need for America’s policymakers, health care professionals and business leaders to take stock of the here and now and develop a better understanding of the day-to-day issues facing those with Alzheimer’s disease.
Before we dance around the head of a pin without a net, and grapple with solutions based on fear mongering in order to gain more research dollars, we need to take stock of the here and now. The solution to Alzheimer’s today and in the foreseeable future is in developing a better and more personal understanding of the day-to-day challenges facing those with the disease.
Healthcare dollars will continue to be spent inappropriately as long as we turn a deaf ear to current management of this disease. A lack of education about the realities of this devastating disease are causing many to jump to erroneous conclusions. For instance, we give costly medications to sufferers so that they will be more calm and sleep through the night when it would be more beneficial to examine the environment and determine reasons why the disease is causing this behavior and how we can ameliorate it.
Evidence shows these medications increase mortality and increase the incidence of falls which once again drains healthcare dollars. Yes, simple modifications can decrease medications but those modifications and change cannot happen without understanding.
One of the reasons for costly long term care is that the caregivers traditionally are not given enough access to education about how to provide care to those dealing with this disease. It was this fact, along with my research on the disease, which led me to create the Virtual Dementia Tour® sensitivity training program.
Those who have gone through the Virtual Dementia Tour® find themselves immediately identifying with their family members. The same is true for professional caregivers. Once they walk in the shoes of a person with Alzheimer’s disease, they become more patient, more understanding and find themselves looking for solutions that do not include increased medication and expensive inpatient hospitalization.
This disease is affecting our economy in an unexpected way as well. Recent reports indicate that the United States experiences $26 billion in lost worker productivity each year due to employees caring for a family member of loved one dealing with Alzheimer’s.
We are at a crucial time in the progression of this disease. A well-choreographed dance needs to take place with one partner focusing on research and the other focusing on better hands-on education for the 5.3 million sufferers and their millions of caregivers.
With a 30 percent increase by 2025 in the number of Americans suffering from Alzheimer’s disease – and a 45 percent increase in the state of Georgia alone – the time to act is now.
America is asleep at the switch waiting for that magic cure that is still decades away. Meanwhile, at a time when research dollars should be spent on the investigation of a cure we are spending precious dollars on costly hospitalizations and medication for a disease that is in the brain and can be helped tremendously with understanding.”
About Second Wind Dreams
Second Wind Dreams® is an international, nonprofit organization committed to changing the perception of aging through the fulfillment of dreams and educational programs that help caregivers understand the physical and mental challenges facing those with Dementia. Founded in 1997 by award-winning geriatric specialist P.K. Beville, M.S., the Atlanta-based organization is recognized as the first in the nation to focus on enhancing the quality of life for elders and changing society’s perception of seniors by making dreams come true. Affiliated with more than 500 elder care communities in the United States and Canada, Second Wind Dreams® has made thousands of dreams come true for seniors living in the United States, Canada, India, Israel and other countries around the world. Its innovative educational programs, known as the Virtual Dementia Tour®, is a scientifically proven method of training designed to build sensitivity and awareness in individuals caring for those with Dementia. For more information about Second Wind Dreams® visit www.secondwind.org, www.facebook.com/SecondWindDreams or follow @SecondWindDream on Twitter.
Dan Curran for Second Wind Dreams
770-658-9586 (cell) - DanCurran@CurranPR.com
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