Dementia and Occupational Therapy - Home caregiver and senior adult woman

Synergy HomeCare is betting comprehensive memory care training to deal with Alzheimer’s patients could give it a leg up on caregiver recruitment. The Gilbert, AZ-based company rolled out a new memory care training program Thursday to its franchisees.

The most basic level of training will provide six hours of content focused on understanding the disease and related dementias, as well as topical areas on ways to address challenging behaviors, the physical environment, communication and psychosocial care issues. The second tier provides enhanced training and certification.

Rich Paul, Synergy HomeCare chief partnership officer, said the company has seen a substantial increase in patients with memory deficits.

“The percentage of clients living with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia varies from one franchise office to another but can be as high as 80% in some of our locations,” Paul told McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse.

Synergy also is providing special programs, such as music and reminiscence therapy,

to help families and caregivers engage with Alzheimer’s patients.

Increased training has become a rallying cry across the home care industry over the past two years as providers work aggressively to recruit and retain caregivers. The Home Care Action Alliance launched last month by the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, the Home Care Association of America, and Bayada Home Health called on Congress to provide more funding for caregiver training.  

Training in Alzheimer’s and dementia care is becoming increasingly important as the number of Alzheimer’s patients is expected to nearly double from 58 million to 88 million by 2050, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Last year, Kentucky set a base-level training requirement for direct care workers who care for Alzheimer’s patients.