The new Alzheimer’s-Friendly Businesses program from the Home Instead Senior Care home care company is helping caregivers and the places that employ them.
Today, 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease and by 2025, 7.1 million people 65 or older will, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Home Instead franchises (there are 640 in the U.S. and Canada, including one on East Reynolds Road in Lexington) just began offering employers free workshops training them how to assist employees who either have Alzheimer’s or care for others with the disease as well as their customers and clients with Alzheimer’s.
Richard Eisenberg, an editor with NextAvenue.org attended a workshop in New Jersey and was impressed.
“We’ve had special Alzheimer’s training for caregivers and, a few years ago, added training for family members of people with dementia — whether they use our service or not,” said Home Instead CEO Jeff Huber. “Alzheimer’s is becoming a huge workplace issue, so we felt we had a responsibility to help businesses and employees. It was a natural place to take our training.”
Once at least 10 percent of employees of an organization attend a workshop, Home Instead will give their employer its Alzheimer’s-Friendly Business designation and logo.
At the workshop Eisenberg attended in the Home Instead of Morris/Passaic Counties, N.J. office, Director of Community Relations Steve Tyburski and Executive Director Steve Sussman advised the leaders of Spectrum Construction & Development, a custom home builder and remodeling specialist in Succasunna, N.J. increasingly doing multi-generational reno projects.
“Some of our customers have had Alzheimer’s or are dealing with loved ones with it, and we thought it would be beneficial to learn more about this,” said Spectrum President Donald Dyrness. Added Spectrum Vice President Daniel Dyrness (Donald’s father): “We give customers guidance with the financial and legal aspects of bringing people into their home.”
The subject was also personal. Several relatives of the Dyrnesses and Office Manager Dorie Whittenburg, who also attended the workshop, have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
“We watched the progression within our own family. It’s sad,” said Daniel Dyrness.
The workshop began with Home Instead’s advice to Spectrum about speaking with customers or their family members with Alzheimer’s. “Treat people