Researchers from the LeadingAge Center for Applied Research will spend 8 days this fall visiting 6 European nursing homes and assisted living communities that have taken steps to improve the dining experiences of residents with dementia. 

Sodexo Institute for Quality of Daily Life, a sponsor of the International Association of Homes and Services for the Ageing (IAHSA), is funding the project.

The research on dining practices for residents with dementia will yield a collection of best practices that LeadingAge and IAHSA members could adapt to their own organizations.  

Dining Practices: Site Visit Goals

LeadingAge researchers will visit facilities in Belgium, Italy and France. During each site visit, they will document how each organization implemented its dining program for residents with dementia. 

Researchers plan to conduct interviews with administrators, nursing and dietary staff, as well as residents’ family members. In addition, they will observe:

  • The dining experience of residents.
  • The design of the dining environment. This includes the dining room’s layout, acoustics, table settings, sensory stimulation and lighting.
  • The role that staff play during dining, including the amount of assistance staff members provide to residents and the extent to which they encourage residents to function independently. 
  • How the organization trains dietary and nursing staff to feed and assist residents and to deal with behavioral issues during meals. 
  • The role of nutrition in creating a positive dining experience.

Dissemination of Dining Practices Case Studies

The best practices that researchers identify will be included in a case study collection that IAHSA and the Center for Applied Research will release in Spring 2013.

The collection will detail each organization’s dining program for residents with dementia. It will also highlight themes and trends that are common to all the participating organizations.

LeadingAge and IAHSA will disseminate the case studies through their respective websites. In addition, findings will be shared at the 2013 IAHSA International conference in Shanghai. 

For more information about the study of dining practices for residents with dementia, contact Natasha Bryant, (202) 508-1214.

Sodexo Institute for Quality of Daily Life

"We strongly believe that the Institute for Improving Quality of Life contributes to the progress of individuals and to the performance of organizations," Michael Landel, chief executive officer of Soxdexo. 

The Institute for Quality of Daily Life is dedicated to the capture and exchange of knowledge, and experience, related to the improvement of quality of daily life. The aim of the Institute is to qualify, quantify, and measure, wherever possible, how services provided by Sodexo improve quality of daily life and consequently positively impacts the progress of individuals and the performance of organizations. 


 The Personal and Home Care Aide State Training Program (PHCAST) is a 3-year federal demonstration program designed to develop core competencies, pilot training curricula and establish certification programs for personal and home care aides (PHCAs). LeadingAge Center for Applied Research is partnering with Walter R. McDonald & Associates, LLC to evaluate PHCAST teaching methods and to ascertain the impact of core competencies training on key outcomes.

LeadingAge Center for Applied Research will be conducting a study to determine the cost effectiveness of a palliative training program for residents with advanced dementia. The palliative care training program was developed by Beatitudes Campus in Arizona. Beatitudes will work with the New York City Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association to adapt and implement the program in three New York nursing homes.

Some issues are just too big for one organization, or even one nation, to address adequately. The aging of the world’s population is one of those issues.

I’m convinced that we won’t be able to overcome the challenges associated with global aging – or take full advantage of the opportunities – without help from many experts working in a variety of disciplines. That’s why a recent international conference, which I attended at the Rockefeller Foundation’s prestigious Bellagio Center in northern Italy, was so important.

About 25 economists, sociologists, physicians, city planners, aging and public health experts, engineers and transportation researchers came to Italy for the small meeting. These experts hailed from the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, China, Thailand, Greece and Russia. Staff came from major international health organizations, including the World Health Organization and HelpAge International. Corporations like Pfizer and Bayer were also on hand.

Housing Plus Services and Livable Communities

During my conference presentation on global aging issues, I offered the “Housing Plus Services” model as a strategy for supporting the world’s aging population.

The LeadingAge Center for Applied Research has been studying this model for many years. We believe that affordable senior housing communities – both publicly subsidized and market rate – can serve as a valuable platform for the delivery of the long-term services and supports that older adults need to age in place.

The Housing Plus Services concept tied in beautifully with the conference’s focus on “livable communities.” We spent 4 days in intensive discussions about how a community’s infrastructure, economic and social features could be designed to help older people remain healthy, independent and engaged. We shared our knowledge and vision from our various professional and subject area perspectives. We also brainstormed about ways to encourage the developed and developing nations of the world to create livable communities that would embrace and support their rapidly aging populations.

Learning from Others around the World 

I learned 3 important lessons during the meeting:

  • Solutions are within reach. It was reassuring to discover that transportation experts from around the world are exploring new ways to keep older people active, engaged and connected after they can no longer drive. Some of the potential solutions – including the use of tax credits to fund age-friendly transit systems – have real potential to change lives.
  • Economic challenges breed innovative strategies. It was fascinating to learn how the economically challenged countries of western Europe are pioneering community-based approaches to support their retirees. 
  • Success depends on interdisciplinary approaches. The value of the conference became clear to me when a neurologist educated us about pathological and normal aging. He then helped us explore how a better understanding of these aging processes can inform more appropriate policy decisions. Interdisciplinary discussions like this are so important. They do not take place often enough.

Benefits for LeadingAge Members

I came away from Bellagio with an expanded network of colleagues from a variety of countries. LeadingAge, the Center for Applied Research and the International Association of Homes and Services for the Ageing will continue collaborating with these experts to move our work forward.

I also came home with a renewed appreciation for how livable communities could help providers of aging services better support the older adults who live within and outside their care settings. LeadingAge members will be hearing more from us about these communities and how we can work together to create and sustain them.
 

Summit on Aging in Public Housing 
Author: Alisha Sanders and Robyn Stone
Publication Date: May 2011
This report summarizes the proceedings from a summit on support seniors to age in place in public housing properties. 

WellElder Program Evaluation - Full Report 
Author: Alisha Sanders and Robyn Stone
Publication Date:  April 2011
This report provides full details on the evaluation of the WellElder program, a program linking low-income residents of subsidized senior housing communities with the health and supportive services they need to remain healthy and independent for as long as possible. 

WellElder Program Evaluation - Project Brief 
Author: Alisha Sanders and Robyn Stone
Publication Date:  April 2011
This brief highlights the key findings of the evaluation of the WellElder program, a program linking low-income residents of subsidized senior housing communities with the health and supportive services they need to remain healthy and independent for as long as possible. 

National Summit on Affordable Senior Housing and Services Report
Author: Alisha Sanders, Robyn Stone and mary Harahan
Publication Date: 2010
The report summarizes the proceedings from the summit on affordable senior housing and services.

Affordable Senior Housing: The Case for Developing Effective Linkages with Health Related and Supportive Services
Author: Alisha Sanders, Mary Harahan, Robyn Stone
Publication Date: 2010
This brief outlines the rational for linking affordable senior housing settings with services to help meet the needs of lower-income seniors.

Implications and Practice and Policy Issues of Affordable Senior Housing with Services Options
Author: Alisha Sanders, Mary Harahan, Robyn Stone
Publication Date: 2010
This brief discusses the potential implications of expanding affordable senior housing with services options and the practice and policy issues that may have to be addressed to do so.

Research on Affordable Senior Housing with Services Strategies
Author: Alisha Sanders, Mary Harahan, Robyn Stone
Publication Date: 2010
This brief outlines the current research of the effectiveness of affordable senior housing with services strategies.

Affordable Senior Housing with Services Programs and Models
Author: Alisha Sanders, Mary Harahan, Robyn Stone
Publication Date: 2010
This brief illustrates some of the potentially promising strategies and models of affordable senior housing with services that have been implemented.

Aging in Place Partnerships: A Training Program for Family Caregivers of Affordable Senior Housing Residents - Project Brief 
Author: Alisha Sanders, Robyn Stone, Rhoda Meador and Victoria Parker
Publication Date: 2010
This brief describes a project to examine the role of family caregivers in affordable senior housing projects and develop a training program to enhance caregivers' skills and capacity. 

 Affordable Senior Housing and Health-Related Services 
Author: Alisha Sanders and Mary Harahan
Publication Date: 2009
This guide provides examples of strategies and programs to bring health and wellness services to affordable senior housing properties.

Doctor at Your Door: The Senior Housing Community's Guide to Medical House Call Programs 
Author: Alisha Sanders and Mary Harahan
Publication Date: 2008
This guide illustrates how senior housing communities and medical house call programs can partner to benefit frail and chronically ill residents, the housing property and the house calls practice.

Connecting Affordable Senior Housing and Services: A Descriptive Study of Three Colorado Models 
Author: Michelle Washko, Alisha Sanders, Mary Harahan, Robyn Stone and Enid Cox 
Publication Date: 2007
This report describes and compares how three affordable senior housing communities in Colorado helped residents maintain independent living in the face of growing frailty and/or disability. 

Inventory of Affordable Senior Housing with Services Strategies 
Author: Alisha Sanders, Mary Harahan and Robyn Stone
Publication Date: 2006
This document provides examples of a range of strategies and programs employed around the country to bring health and supportive services to residents of affordable senior housing properties.

Findings from the Regional Workshops on Affordable Housing Plus Services Strategies for Low- and Modest-Income Seniors 
Author: Alisha Sanders, Mary Harahan and Robyn Stone
Publication Date: 2006
This report details the discussions of four regional workshops that brought together a range of stakeholders to debate the promises and challenges of linking affordable senior housing settings with health and supportive services to meet the needs of low-income residents.

Creating New Long-Term Care Choices: A Synthesis of Findings from a Study of Affordable Housing Plus Services Linkages 
Author: Alisha Sanders, Mary Harahan and Robyn Stone
Publication Date: 2006
This document synthesizes the rational for creating affordable senior housing with services strategies, examples of strategies and programs being implemented around the country and the findings from a series of regional workshops that debated the promise and challenges of linking affordable senior housing settings with health and supportive services to meet the needs of low-income residents.

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