Home Instead offers free Alzheimer’s training

The Home Instead Senior Care office serving Yolo and Solano counties is offering a unique approach to help 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 or Other Dementias CARE: Changing Aging through Research and EducationSM 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 Tom Suharik, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office serving Yolo and upper Solano counties, in a news release.

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,” Suharik said.

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, in the news release.

“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.

“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,” Suharik said.

He also added that “we currently are in the process of familiarizing our caregivers in this one of a kind learning on top of our current training process and plan to open this to families of our clients and others in the community later in the year.”

For more information about free family caregiver training or to obtain a free copy of the Helping Families Cope booklet, call the local Home Instead Senior Care office at (530) 666-0613 or visit HelpforAlzheimersFamilies.com.

Founded in 1994 in Omaha by Lori and Paul Hogan, the Home Instead Senior Care network is the world’s largest provider of non-medical in-home care services for seniors, with more than 950 independently owned and operated franchises around the world.

Local Home Instead Senior Care offices employ more than 65,000 caregivers who provide basic support services — assistance with activities of daily living, personal care, medication reminders, meal preparation, light housekeeping, errands, incidental transportation and shopping — which enable seniors to live safely and comfortably in their own homes for as long as possible.

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