In-home senior care brand Seniors Helping Seniors of Weld County has become the first senior care service in Weld County to receive elite dementia-care training to provide advanced care to seniors dealing with dementia.
Over 50,000 senior citizens call Weld County home. Monica Londoño, owner of Weld County’s Seniors Helping seniors, Tina Saldanha, manager of Larimer County’s Seniors Helping Seniors, and their caregivers’ staff have participated in Dementia Together’s Dementia-Friendly Leader Education course that took three days in October.
“I had caregivers after this training coming to me and saying they felt ready to go and take care of people dealing with any type of dementia,” said Monica. “It takes a lot of work and commitment to make sure everybody goes to the training,” Monica said.
Dementia Together’s training program works to provide “in the meantime” support for individuals and families impacted by Dementia through education and enrichment. A total of 75 percent of Weld County’s Seniors Helping Seniors staff participated in the training. The agency aimed to become a partner of the program by 2021, providing the training annually to caregivers.
Seniors Helping Seniors is a franchise but is independently owned with caregivers who go into seniors’ homes who need non-medical home care from transportation and bed-bound assistance to stimulating and engaging in activities like games. Tina has worked with Cyndy Luzinski, who is the owner of Dementia Together, for five years now, working to empower everyone in the community she comes across to be dementia-friendly.
“Whether you’re in a grocery store or you have a friend’s mother, or you’re walking on the street, you are going to bump into someone who has some memory loss depending on dementia,” said Tina. “Cindy’s goal is trying to make us all dementia friendly and finding ways to understand the disease, communicate, how to find meaningful interactions, look for agitation and redirect,” Tina said.
Seniors Helping Seniors also works with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Larimer County Office on Aging, and long-term care services as partners. Seniors who utilize their services are often put on monthly invoices. However, Seniors Helping Seniors works with each client regardless of their budget and when they can make payments.
Monica and Tina have also been working to mitigate issues regarding the COVID-19 pandemic by following guidelines from the Center for Disease and Control (CDC) and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), making sure their team members are wearing masks, washing hands and answering questions when they clock in and out as seniors and their caregivers are at high risk. Epidemiologists from the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment (LCDHE) have been in constant communication with Seniors Helping Seniors as guidelines continue to change often.
“Whenever we do the training, there is one quote that encapsulates what we are doing by Allen powers – “It is time we change our minds about people whose minds are chaining,” said Tina. “That is powerful because rather than say that is something that we just to have to live with, it is about us, the care partners, it is time for us to change our minds about all of those whose minds are changing,” Tina said.