Getting Dementia Care Right: What’s Not Working and How It Can Change

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Take a journey with Anne Ellett through a landscape of successful dementia care that is entirely possible yet too rarely seen in current care settings. Her encouraging descriptions of realistic, actionable practices will help set a course for positive change in the lives of residents and care staff alike.

Drawing on extensive nursing and administrative experience in assisted living and skilled nursing communities, Ellett explores the obsolete ideas and programs behind current dementia care practices, and contrasts these with innovative alternatives from across the country. In the process, she challenges ordinary perceptions of what is possible for people living with dementia. By shifting the focus of care to ensuring each resident has a good day, both physically and emotionally, staff can learn more effective ways to:

  • Create normal-feeling daily experiences for residents.
  • Develop constructive relationships with them.
  • Support use of retained abilities.
  • Decrease isolation and boredom.
  • Interpret the meaning behind resident actions and reactions.
  • Advocate for the residents’ preferences and needs

While acknowledging common obstacles to progress—ill-informed attitudes, staffing limitations, organizational pressures, surplus safety concerns, and more—Ellett describes both large and small strategies for overcoming these challenges to produce big changes in the lives of residents with dementia. Job satisfaction for the staff improves too.

For all readers, whether memory care professionals, people living with dementia, or family members, the takeaway is that we can do better—and we must demand better—in our day-to-day support for people living with memory loss.


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