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Teaching Caregivers Hand Reflexology
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35th Global Conference of Alzheimer’s Disease International
Hands-on Dementia: Reflexology Techniques as a Tool for the Caregivers of Persons Living with Dementia
Ms. Oran Einhorn Aviv, Mr. Jeffrey Lieder
Savion Senior Day Care Center, Kfar Saba, Israel
Support for dementia carers: Education and training for informal carers
Most foreign live-in caregivers in Israel do not receive formal training to work with persons with dementia prior to their arrival, nor do they receive adequate support and training during their employment. This pilot program was created to offer instruction in hand reflexology as a tool for caregivers to assist in reducing anxiety experienced by their employers living with dementia.
Four pilot programs were conducted at the Savion Senior Day Care Center in Kfar Saba, Israel. The caregivers learned how to work hand reflex points during 10 weekly, 1-hour classes. The course was held at the Center while the seniors participated in activities.
Caregivers reported that when they applied hand reflexology, their employer exhibited reduced anxiety, improved sleep patterns, and created a better relationship between themselves and the older person. In addition, caregivers shared that the course itself improved their own self-esteem and offered them educational resources as well as moral support.
Hand reflexology may serve as an alternative or complement to other methods to enhance the quality of life for both persons living with dementia and their caregivers. In addition, such training will provide caregivers with skills and support they need in the daily management of behavioral and emotional challenges of their work. A broader research base is needed, however, to provide not only definitive evidence about the benefits for both persons living with dementia and the caregivers, but also its adaptability to senior day care centers world-wide.
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