Empowering people to thrive – no matter what disability or cognitive disorder they may live with – is the focus of Benjamin Surmi’s work as a social gerontologist. Currently, Benjamin works in Vancouver, Washington, with Koelsch Communities. There are lots of different issues related to aging. However, the world of dementia is in dire need of innovation. Finally, we realize the problems with Alzheimer’s – it’s a cultural issue. The United Kingdom has transformed itself into a dementia friendly community. They train people to understand and know how to work with people who live with dementia. That way, they won’t suffer as much as they do. Tune in as we speak about how life is in a dementia-friendly society and how we can help patients living with dementia.
In This Episode:
- [05:50] Meet Benjamin Surmi. Benjamin explains what exactly a social gerontologist does.
- [09:45] How life can be better for people with Alzheimer’s.
- [18:20] What happens when an Alzheimer’s patient can’t be found in a dementia-friendly society.
- [21:10] How to refer to someone who is living with dementia.
- [26:20] Using headphones to speak to patients living with dementia.
- The issue of dementia is cultural. We need to make sure that someone with dementia can still function in society.
- The suffering involved with dementia is because our community is not set up to support people with dementia.
- People working retail can be trained on how to gently lead people with dementia away from mirrors.
- A person with dementia should be able to leave their home; we need to help them leave their home safely.
- Suppose you’re going to talk about someone with dementia. In that case, that person likes to be called “a person living with dementia” instead of a dementia patient.
Meet Benjamin Surmi
Empowering people to thrive – no matter what disability or cognitive disorder they may live with – is the focus of Benjamin’s work as a social gerontologist. Caregiver, activity director, lifelong learning center director, and home repair coordinator were each roles that shaped his understanding of the unique needs of seniors. Currently, he guides the person-centered training for over 2,100 employees in 8 states and is currently implementing an evidence-based approach to care from France called Humanitude. He coaches 70+ wellness directors and 32+ Executive Directors who support over 1,500 seniors. His passion is imagining the impossible and building alliances that make it possible.