LEWISBURG - The local Home Instead Senior Care office is offering a unique approach to help Central Susquehanna River Valley families manage the challenges of Alzheimer's and other dementias, diseases that eventually rob seniors of their memories and independence.
Free training for families caring for these older adults now is available through online e-learning modules, available at HelpForAlzheimersFam ilies.com.
The Alzheimer's or Other Dementias CARE: Changing Aging through Research and Education Training Program offers a personal approach to help families care for seniors with Alzheimer's disease at home, where 60 to 70 percent live, according to the Alzheimer's Association.
"Until there is a cure, we offer an interim solution," said Joe DeLauter, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office serving the Central Susquehanna River Valley.
The foundation of the Alzheimer's CARE Training Program is an approach called "Capturing Life's Journey" that involves gathering stories and experiences about the senior to help caregivers provide comfort while honoring the individual's past.
Because people with Alzheimer's disease have difficulty with short-term memory, the Capturing Life's Journey approach taps into long-term memory.
The Home Instead Senior Care network assembled the top experts in Alzheimer's disease to develop the CARE approach. "The training we're offering to families is the same kind of training our professional CAREgivers receive," he noted.
The program for family caregivers consists of four classes: Alzheimer's Disease or Other Dementias Overview; Capturing Life's Journey; Techniques to Manage Behaviors; and Activities to Encourage Engagement.
Also available is a free guide for those who are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's disease or other dementias, called Helping Families Cope. The guide includes advice to help families keep their loved ones engaged and manage behaviors.
"CARE is a wonderful hands-on approach that helps caregivers deal with the behavioral changes that too often accompany these disorders - one of the biggest stressors for caregivers," said Dr. Jane F. Potter, chief of the Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
"There was previously no good program available using adult education techniques to provide hands-on practice in learning how best to help people who have dementia. This is huge," she said.
"The preferred environment for those with dementia is generally at home," said Potter, who served on the expert panel to help develop content for the Alzheimer's CARE Training Program.
And yet, families caring for seniors with Alzheimer's at home are dealing with challenging behaviors such as anger, aggression, wandering and refusing to eat, according to research conducted for the Home Instead Senior Care network.
"That makes the Alzheimer's Disease or Other Dementias CARE Training Program a solution for the many families in our area who are being impacted each day by devastating side effects of this disease," DeLauter said.
For more information about free family caregiver training or to obtain a free copy of the Helping Families Cope booklet, contact the local Home Instead Senior Care office at 522-6533 or visit HelpforAlzheimersFami lies.com.