Pella Chronicle

July 1, 2012

Free Alzheimer’s Training now available to local family caregivers


The Chronicle

Pella — The local Home Instead Senior Care® office is offering a unique approach to help Pella area 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 is now available through online e-learning modules, available at HelpForAlzheimersFamilies.com.

The Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias CARE 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 Jonna Wisnieski, owner of the local Home Instead Senior Care office. “Providing family caregivers with knowledge and support will help equip them to handle the many challenges associated with caring for a loved one with dementia.”

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 CAREGiversSM receive,” Wisnieski noted.

The on-line program for family caregivers consists of four classes: Alzheimer’s Disease or Other Dementias Overview; Capturing Life’s Journey; Techniques to Manage Difficult 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 suffer from dementia. This is a huge help,” she added.

“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 CARE Training Program a part of the solution for the many families in our area who are being impacted each day by devastating side effects of this disease,” Wisnieski said.

For more information about free, on-site Family Caregiver Training, contact your local Home Instead Senior Care office at 641-620-1174.   Or visit HelpforAlzheimersFamilies.com to engage in the e-learning courses.