Dementia and COVID-19: Culture Change, Communication, and Creativity

Education | May 04, 2020 | by Kirsten Jacobs

Supporting people with dementia has always been one of the most challenging and rewarding aspects of our work. Then seemingly overnight the COVID-19 pandemic brought with it a host of new challenges and amplified familiar ones. And yet, I believe you already have the tools you need to address these evolving difficulties. 

In response to requests for more resources related to dementia and COVID-19, I gathered (virtually) a group of providers and collaborators to garner their insight. 


As always, I was moved by our community of elder-serving professionals. I was also struck by some themes that emerged: culture change, communication and creativity. All tools that are already in your toolbox.


Over and over again participants reiterated the importance of culture change, or person/relationship- centered care. Now more than ever, we need to turn toward the basics of the culture change movement. A movement that urges us to keep people at the heart of everything we do. Similarly, both communication and creativity are already inherent in the work you do, but now is the time to find new ways to share information and maintain a creative mindset even as days and weeks drag on.

For specific ideas, download our latest QuickCast, Dementia and Covid-19: Insights from the Field from the LeadingAge Learning Hub.

Huge appreciation to our conversation participants, who shared their time and insight amidst this very challenging time:

  • Kelly Carney, Corporate Director of Memory Care Services, ACTS
  • Deke Cateau, President and CEO, AG Rhodes
  • Tena Alonso, Director of Education and Research, Beatitudes
  • Jennifer Brush, Director, Brush Development
  • Jen Wilson, VP Wellbeing, & Deb Every, Nursing Coordinator and Infection Preventionist, Carol Woods
  • Kenya Bryant, Social Work Coordinator, Hermitage Northern Virginia
  • Lisa Hoxie, Director of Life Enrichment & Lori Grossman, Memory Care Coordinator, The Osborne
  • Carrie Chiusano, Executive Director, Dementia Care Center of Excellence, Presbyterian SeniorCare
  • Erin Cornell, Director of Health Services & Bev Shields, Director of Nursing Services, Rose Villa
  • Jennifer Carson, Director, Dementia Engagement, Education and Research Program University of Nevada, Reno