The Gold Coats – An Exceptional Standard of Care
A Collaborative Guide to Caring for the Cognitively Impaired Behind Bars
Correctional facilities are not geared to accommodate the needs of a growing aging population. With the natural slowdown of physical mobility and cognitive processes, aging prisoners are prone to predation and humiliation. Early onset dementia, including Alzheimer’s Disease, is difficult to detect in a population often accompanied with other mental illness and maladaptive social behaviors.
The Gold Coat program, based at the California Men’s Colony State Prison in San Luis Obispo, consists of healthy inmates specially trained to care for those with dementia and other cognitive impairments and are designated for the gold smocks they wear.
The experiences of former Gold Coats will reveal a working rehabilitative program, a true model of reform that can provide skills for meaningful employment while caring for those who cannot help themselves. Many of the Gold Coats in this book had dual roles and served as hospice caregivers assuring those that were dying they would not be alone or forgotten. Many, if not most, of their Alzheimer’s clients who were not transferred or released ended up in hospice and again, in the care of the beloved Gold Coat that took care of them through the various stages of Alzheimer’s Disease.
This book will provide a foundation for a rehabilitative caregiver program to meet the needs of cognitively impaired inmates while healthy inmates can learn vital employable skills, confidence, self-esteem, empathy and compassion in a difficult environment.
These former caregivers take pride in their training, skills and experience. Their passion to keep the “Gold Standard” of care throughout corrections and beyond is at the root of this book.