Spark of Life Model of Care acclaimed by Commonwealth Aged Care Leaders

The following article is reproduced with permission from the CommonAge website:

Click here to read this article on the CommonAge website.

Our Chairman Andrew Larpent says: “The Spark of Life Model of Care provides a transferable framework of education and care practices that are meaningful and effective in diverse cultures and in all areas of care including community and palliative care, and we are sincerely grateful for the support our Ambassadors receive from Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life.”

Spark of Life delivering excellence in dementia care across the Commonwealth

By Annie Waddington-Feather
21st September, 2022

With researches predicting global dementia cases will trip to 150million by 2050, and the World Alzheimer Report revealing up to 85% of people living with dementia may not receive post-diagnosis care raising awareness of these conditions today, through World Alzheimer’s Day, 21 September, and World Alzheimer’s month is more important than ever before.

Through this year’s theme of ‘Know Dementia, Know Alzheimer’s’, Alzheimer’s International is shining a light on the importance of a timely diagnosis and the warning signs of dementia and highlights ‘tackling dementia requires a truly global and local effort’,

However, for local sector leaders and service providers working at a grass roots level in many Commonwealth countries, there are additional challenges, such as cultural beliefs, to overcome.

Anderson Simfukwe, our ambassador in Zambia, points out ‘in the African context, there is an intersection of old age and witchcraft that needs urgent clarity and comprehension.

In a recent article entitled ‘Older Persons versus Witchcraft vis-a-vis Dementia Under the Spark of Life Philosophy’, he highlights:

Older people are mainly associated with the practicing of witchcraft due to the fact that as people age their mental capability is compromised due to various brain health conditions that include Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of Dementias. The witch finders target wealthy older men and women who are unable to defend themselves during interrogation. And dementia is at the centre of such witchcraft accusations and the witch finders take advantage of the people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other brain disorders to accuse them of practicing witchcraft. The accused are subjected to all forms of abuse including brutal killing in cold blood.

The Spark of Life Philosophy and implementation of the best practice Spark of Life Model of Care, is a specialised education and training programme run by Australian-based Dementia Care International and it is having a positive impact on those living with dementia and delivering unprecedented benefits for all involved.

In 2015, CommonAge Ambassadors and recipients of our bursary to an international care conference in Perth, Australia met Jane Verity, Founder and CEO of Dementia Care International, and Hilary Lee, President of Dementia Care International; since then, through our ambassadors and other networks, the pioneering Spark of Life Model of Care has been launched in five Commonwealth countries.

“Building relationships based on empathy, kindness, and compassion are key aspects of our Model of Care; when we met the CommonAge Ambassadors, we recognised sector leaders from many nations in the Commonwealth desperately needed resources and training to help them care for people living with dementia, and we knew we had the tools to help,” Jane and Hilary explain. “Through Dementia Care International’s charity arm Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life, over the past few years, we have provided grants for CommonAge Ambassadors to attend our intensive three-week Master Leadership Program and Quality Management System. Furthermore, we have provided ongoing support, to enable each Master Practitioner to implement the Model of Care in their service and wider community.”

“Like many other organisations, when the COVID19 Pandemic lockdowns prevented international travel, we developed and transformed our education programs so they can be delivered live via Zoom in a way that is interactive and engaging,” they continue.

Since the training went online, our CommonAge Ambassador in Kenya, James Mbatia Kinuthia, Founder of SJ Remedial Care Facilities in Nairobi, Kenya was able to attend the Master Leadership Program, and is now implementing the Model of Care in his care home and community service.

He says although we are looking forward to create more awareness, the reality is that the reception is overwhelmingly unbelievable, our daily calls and messages concerning rehabilitation of those living with Dementia has remarkably increased.

“This has enhanced level of ownership, confidence, enthusiasm and leadership felt across my team. Having our two supportive partners attending the Spark of Life Rehabilitative program via Zoom was a helpful support.”

“One of our residents used to tell others who he was, (as he thought they did not know) but after the introduction of the Spark of Life Name Memory aids, he no longer repeatedly does so. Thus there is a new feeling that he knows people know who he is, and now he doesn’t need to keep repeating his name to everyone. He knows everyone can read his name, and this has given him quite a settling and reassuring feeling.”

Read more about how our Ambassadors in Uganda have benefited from the Spark of Life care model here.

Read more about how our Ambassadors in Zambia have benefited from the Spark of Life care model here.

Read more about how our Ambassadors in Nigeria have benefited from the Spark of Life care model here.

Read more about how our Ambassadors in India have benefited from the Spark of Life care model here and here.

Read more about how our Ambassadors in Kenya have benefited from the Spark of Life care model here.

Dementia Care International offers a range of Spark of Life education programs online including:

“We are providing high-level leadership education and equipping leaders to provide sustainable and measurable quality care in their services,” Jane and Hilary conclude.

By bringing knowledge and experience together across the Commonwealth we can support sector leaders in developing countries, and contribute to making positive changes to people’s lives.

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This article was originally published in CommonAge.
Click here to read this article on the CommonAge website.