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Dementia Society of America Represented at Pioneer Network Conference

Chicago, IL, August 25, 2015 --( Kevin Jameson, president of the Dementia Society of America (DSA), a nonprofit group dedicated to raising awareness of all dementia-related conditions, recently attended the 2015 Pioneer Network Conference, the nation’s largest conference focusing on culture change and person-centered care.

The conference was held Aug. 2-5 at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Chicago. The theme was “Navigating the Winds of Change.”

“We were very warmly welcomed there,” said Jameson, of Doylestown, adding that interest in the DSA was high because of its own unique focus. “It was a really, really positive event.”

Jameson networked with various professionals tasked with improving the health care environment for older Americans.

One of those included Jack York, who understands what creating a niche market in the field of person-centered care is all about, too.

York is president and co-founder of It’s Never 2 Late, a Colorado-based company that provides easy-to-use computer systems to keep older adults connected with their loved ones, or life in general, or as they say, dignity through technology.

“The whole Pioneer Network has always been about trying to look at better ways to do things for elders,” York, who was one of the presenters at the conference, said. Traditionally, focus has been on providing better care for basic needs, such as diet or bathing practices, he said. Now, those same caregivers “are starting to make technology part of that whole health care package.”

It’s not as unusual anymore to see older patients living in assisted care or skilled nursing centers using webcams or emails to keep in touch with loved ones, he said.

And those suffering from dementia are not excluded from technological advances either. Group or one-on-one activities – drawing, listening to music, playing games – can all be accomplished through use of specialized computer programs, with assistance, he said.

“A lot of the people, including Kevin and the DSA, are very committed to changing the culture of what it’s like for people living in nursing homes,” said York. “We’re all taking the talents we have and trying to make a difference and find better ways to do things.”

That’s exactly what another conference attendee, Kim McRae, is doing, too. She’s a family caregiver-turned advocate, and president of Have a Good Life, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of elders at all stages.

After her father died, she was thrust into the role of caretaker for her mother. At 35, married, and with a young family, McRae became responsible for decisions involving her 62-year-old mother, who was eventually diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Navigating the whole realm of dementia care was eye-opening for her. “I just knew there had to be better ways to care for people,” she said. As a result, she co-founded Culture Change Network of Georgia, a group that’s committed to improving quality of life conditions for older residents of that state.

Advances have been made in the area of person-centered care – focusing on the strengths of the person as a unique individual instead of the person’s diagnosis – but consumer education is key, she said. That’s why collaborations of groups such as It’s Never 2 Late, Have a Good Life, and DSA are so important.

“The more that all of us can come together and really strengthen what we’re trying to do, the better able we can affect positive changes,” she said.

The Dementia Society of America is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness and educating the public on a wide spectrum of dementia-related conditions. For more information: 1-844-DEMENTIA or
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Dementia Society of America
Sandra Moyer Dehaven

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