From Trovato’s President to anyone impacted by dementia.
When I was 16 years old, I started a club at a local assisted living community. When I had my first experience with people with dementia, it was different than most 16 year olds. I wanted to stay there to
- Help the woman who was screaming for “help.”
- Hug the woman who was crying and asking to go home.
- Listen to the man who was telling me about the birthday party his parents were going to throw him.
I loved being in that dementia unit. So, it was easy to pursue this career. I always tell people that I got drunk once in college. Just to say I did it. I took 8am biology classes, volunteered with my professors to build rapport and elevate my access to the most unique internship opportunities. I even voluntarily took an advanced research methods and data analysis class so I could conduct a study on how death impacted different age groups.
A little over four years ago, after having been in this field for some time, I started to see patterns in the dementia industry.
- Lacking person centered care: Many communities, companies, etc. talked about having person centered care. However, I noticed that we were all rushed to come up with quick solutions due to time constraints and limited resources.
- Training was subpar: Lots of great classroom training programs existed. I delivered a lot of them. But they were blanket programs that didn’t consider the regional population or the specific issues of each company receiving the training. There was next to nothing in terms of experiential learning.
- Families were feeling defeated: The lack of training and resources in the industry left families looking for more. More guidance, more experience, more knowledge but they kept hitting more challenges. From caregivers quitting, to being discharged from communities, families were burned out and throwing in the towel.
- The perception of dementia was negative: All talk about dementia was negative. Even the scales that described the stages of dementia talked about what a person with dementia could not do at each stage, rather than what they could do (until Teepa Snow released her GEMS model).
A close friend of mine, who worked in the industry and had seen me in “action” kept telling me to “open a company.” He started the conversation with me and even did a competitive analysis for me, coached me on how to open my own company, and even gave advice on a logo and company name. My best friend designed my logo and created a social media marketing plan for me. While all this was underway, I started a blog talking about dementia and my experiences. Soon after, Trovato officially launched.
When I left my full time job and pursued Trovato I had a vision. I wasn’t sure at that time how it would pan out but I knew I needed to change the world. I didn’t have any fall back plan. I still had bills and was financially independent. I had passion, drive, and confidence that everything would fall together. I knew I was going to do three things.
- I was going to offer hope to people impacted by dementia.
- I was going to help organizations that worked with people with dementia to do better for people with dementia while also helping their productivity and bottom line.
- I was going to minimize the negative feelings surrounding the industry by changing the narrative.
I am quite lucky to have the ability to work with so many great organizations. I have seen the industry change a lot in the past 15 years. There are many organizations that welcome an outside expert opinion and they want to learn how to do better. They invest in their clients because they believe in the long-term value.
- Assisted Living Communities hire Trovato to conduct a behavioral analysis and provide insight on how they can improve their care, activities, move-in process (starting from that first inquiry call), environmental design, and incorporate all departments in dementia care.
- Home care companies are asking for support from Trovato to reduce hired caregiver burn out, educate and support the family members, conduct training, and provide on the spot coaching to improve care practices.
- Hospitals are asking Trovato to help make their facilities more dementia-friendly by educating their providers, supporting families, and providing feedback on environmental triggers than may negatively impact effective treatment.
- First Responders are retaining Trovato to teach them how to understand and quickly identify potential dementia or cognitive impairment. They want to know the best techniques to minimize resistance and discomfort of their patients.
- Families work with Trovato to have support, education, and learn how to communicate with someone with dementia. They are learning, from Trovato, how to maximize the opportunities and minimize the challenges. They’re gaining more hope than they had before.
- Trovato is invited to speak on many platforms including: conferences, smaller educational events, continuing education talks, and local television, that reaches people who otherwise wouldn’t have the information.
Trovato has almost been open for 4 years. This is an exciting time for the dementia industry and I’m so grateful that Trovato is continuing to help those who are impacted by dementia whether it is personally or professionally, while scientists work on finding a cure.
Thank you for the support over the years. Thank you for the opportunities. Thank you for reading, liking, sharing, and commenting. The feedback whether in agreement or disagreement is always welcomed as it generates important conversation. From the bottom of my heart: Thank you.
Mikki Firor, Gerontologist, M.S.
P.S. Do you have an idea for how we can change the world together? You can e-mail me directly at Mikki@TrovatoLLC.com. Let’s do this.