(Watch April’s Holiday Video or read her post below.)
When I sat down to prepare my year in review message, the one word that kept coming to me was gratitude — for my team, for the Board, our partners and stakeholders and the hard-working and dedicated health care professionals in Canada who have given so much throughout this pandemic — many of them are GPA Certified Coaches (CCs). Our gratitude can never truly be enough!
I can’t say that I have only felt gratitude over the months. I have also felt fear, frustration and even helplessness, as I worked to make sure that my team was okay and that we did our best to serve our stakeholders.
I don’t pretend to understand what those working at the point of care have been through, what they’ve seen, or what’s been asked or expected of them. But knowing some of the challenges GPA Certified Coaches were facing, we knew we had to quickly make our Gentle Persuasive Approaches (GPA) dementia curriculum accessible in a format that met pandemic safety protocols. Some things can wait during a pandemic, dementia education for healthcare stuff and students is not one of them. I am so pleased with the GPA virtual formats we have developed and grateful for the important input from so many GPA CCs. The new formats have been well received and are regularly accessed. What I originally thought of as a challenge has now become an opportunity to make GPA even more widely and easily accessible.
As many of you know, AGE holds an annual Awards Recognition program. Last year, we cancelled it because of the pandemic. This year we’re holding it again. We’ve already recognized GPA Certified Coaches who have 10 or more years of service with a special certificate. Coaches who have 15 or more years received a special plaque. We’re also creating a storytelling tribute to GPA CCs’ incredible resilience during COVID-19. It’s called GPA Stories from the Point of Care. Belief in GPA held strong, despite the extraordinary circumstances. We’ve provided a link to the first of these stories, “Sandra’s Story” from a long-term care home in the Region of Halton, Ontario (see below). Watch for additional stories on social media and our website in the new year.
Looking ahead to 2022, I hope things become a little more normal. When this happens, I am grateful that we will be prepared with virtual GPA adaptations for education and Coach training, a return to in-person GPA CC workshops and education sessions (with increased safety protocols) and the launch of the GPA Bathing program.
Thank you to all who support us in our important work enhancing the care of older adults. on behalf of the entire team at AGE, I wish you Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and all the best for a Happy New Year.
April Morganti, AGE Executive Director, CEO, M.PA, BA, Dip AEd.
GPA Stories from the point of care:
Read Sandra’s story from Halton Region, Milton Day Program and Allendale Long Term Care home in the town of Milton, Southern Ontario
ABOUT AGE INC.
Advanced Gerontological Education (AGE) Inc. is a national not-for-profit social enterprise that develops and delivers dementia care education to healthcare staff and students. Our practical, evidence-informed Gentle Persuasive Approaches (GPA) curriculum has given more than 500,000 Canadian care providers the knowledge, skills and confidence they need for working with older Canadians living with dementia and responsive behaviours. www.ageinc.ca