Education Today for a Better Tomorrow
By Marilucy Lopes, Manager of Education
According to estimates, there are over five million individuals in the U.S. over the age of 65 with Alzheimer’s disease. If no cure or treatment is found, that number will increase to approximately 14 million by 2050. Unfortunately, these frightening statistics represent more than numbers. Each number represents a person with the disease, perhaps your spouse or family member, a friend, or your coworker. So what can you do about it? While there is currently no prevention or cure for a type of dementia like Alzheimer’s disease, we do know that early detection is key in preparing for the future. In fact, in the majority of Alzheimer’s cases, family members, friends, or neighbors are the first to notice the warning signs. Knowing what to do when the warning signs start and where to go for help is the hallmark of our education courses. Investing your time to learn about the disease now will prepare you with information for the future.
Learning about Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia doesn’t stop at knowing the warning signs. What if the person you are providing care for is past the point of warning signs? What’s special about our education courses at CaringKind is that they are uniquely structured to provide informal and professional caregivers from diverse fields of practice with crucial information on how to support a person with dementia (PWD) at any stage in the disease. Caregivers and professionals who are working with a PWD describe CaringKind’s education seminars as being “an eye-opener,” no matter where they are in the caregiving journey. Oftentimes, those who attend the seminars share comments such as “I feel like now I understand why [he or she] is behaving [or communicating] differently” or “This information will help me support my [family member or friend] in a better way.” Learning about changes in the brain, the diagnostic process, or how to communicate with someone who is living with the disease are examples of priceless information that advance a caregiver’s skillset and preparedness.
CaringKind’s educational seminars reveal that Alzheimer’s disease or another cause of dementia is more complicated than just changes with memory — the disease changes a person’s cognition, behavior, and physical functioning too. As a caregiver, if your main concern is about cognition, the way someone behaves, or how to maintain safe physical functioning, all of the seminars are structured to encourage you to utilize self-direction. A caregiver has the option to attend an education seminar as many times as he or she feels is necessary, at no charge. Professionals are also encouraged to attend our free Understanding Dementia for Professionals Seminar, with the option to apply for continuing education units for a fee. Caregivers often wonder: “How does the disease change a person’s behavior?” or “How can I support [the person I’m caring for] with bill paying and healthcare decisions?” And perhaps one of the most common questions, “What do I do next?” To answer these questions and provide further direction, CaringKind’s educational seminars are expanding throughout the city, with offerings such as our Understanding Dementia Seminar: What You Need to Know and Where to Go, Legal and Financial Seminar, Medicaid Home Care Seminar: A Practical Guide to the System, and Placing Your Relative in a Nursing Home, as well as our Monthly Education Meeting, which covers a new topic derived from issues we hear about from caregivers and professionals each month.
CaringKind’s educational seminars provide invaluable knowledge and support for caregivers and professionals. The information can improve quality of life for caregivers, and the person they are caring for. To learn more about how an education seminar can help you and which meetings are closest to you, contact our 24-hour Helpline at 646-744-2900, visit our website at caringkindnyc.org/education, or turn to pages 32-33 to view our education calendar.