How Aging Services Organizations Can Help Residents Living with Parkinson's Disease

November 2, 2018 | Aging Services Risk Management


"Why are they treating my husband like he has dementia?" asked the wife of an individual with Parkinson's disease when reflecting on their experiences at a previous long-term care (LTC) facility, where the resident's Parkinson's-related speech problems were mistaken for dementia. In an educational session titled "Parkinson's Program of Excellence," at the LeadingAge Annual Meeting and Expo (October 28-31, 2018) in Philadelphia, panelists explained how one aging services organization sought to offer specialized care for older adults living with the disease. According to Carol Silver-Elliott, president and chief executive officer of the Jewish Home Family, 10% of her organization's LTC residents have a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease, which sparked the creation of a Parkinson's program. The program serves residents across the organization's care facilities, which include an assisted-living facility, home health services, an adult day center, and an LTC facility. The program began by collaborating with the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research and other similarly focused organizations to train staff about the specific needs of people living with Parkinson's. Sunni Herman, executive vice president of the Jewish Home Family, said, "If you've met one person with Parkinson's, you've only met one person with Parkinson's," because the disease manifests differently for everyone.

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