The Value of Training
Family members, friends, and professional caregivers who regularly interact with a person diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia understand how complex and multifaceted the condition can be. Most caregivers may be at a loss on how to best communicate and interact with that person to preserve their existing relationship or create new connections. CaringKind’s training programs seek to highlight the importance of preserving the person with dementia’s “personhood” and to help caregivers develop and understand the world through the lens of somebody with dementia. CaringKind’s training department offers two distinct tracks of training: the Family Caregiver Workshop and the Dementia Care Training for Professional Caregivers.
The Family Caregiver Workshop is a 10-hour training program designed to educate family members and friends who are actively involved with the care of a person with dementia. This workshop provides the information, tools, and skills necessary for the caregiver to manage personal needs while at the same time supporting the person with the illness. The workshop meets once a week for four weeks, two-and-a-half hours per session. Each session covers a key component to good dementia care; the topics include understanding dementia, enhancing communication, managing challenging behaviors, and self-care. Each session builds on the previous one, so that participants can best tackle the issues around the disease that most affect them. Participants are encouraged to share and learn from each other, while simultaneously providing the emotional support that is necessary to meet the challenges of caring for someone with dementia. Family Caregiver Workshop participants are invited back quarterly for follow-up sessions; the goal of these sessions is to provide participants with the opportunity to reconnect with fellow caregivers, brush up on important topics, and receive the most up-to-date information about dementia care.
The Dementia Care Training for Professional Caregivers (DCTPC) is one of our most successful and sought-after programs, and it has evolved significantly since its inception over 20 years ago. The training program for direct care workers — home health aides, home attendants, and certified nursing assistants, among others — meets for one full day a week for six weeks, totaling a 45-hour commitment. It is capped by a graduation ceremony and celebration in the seventh week. The DCTPC stresses the importance of building skills and understanding dementia from an emotional point of view, as well as from a practical one. The goal is to ensure that persons with dementia receive the highest quality of care possible. Graduates are invited back for quarterly follow-up sessions where lessons are reinforced and their successes and challenges are shared and explored. Graduates are also eligible to participate in CaringKind’s web-based employment resource, TogetherWeCare.com, which matches families with trained professional caregivers who have completed our training program.