### Why Donors Should Invest in Our Trainings **By Amy Torres, Director of Training**
CaringKind recognizes that in the absence of a cure or effective treatment for the majority of dementia-related diseases, the most significant investment we can make is in the human resource. Although medical research has made strides in better understanding the myriad causes that precipitate dementia symptoms, the vast majority of seniors diagnosed with dementia have Alzheimer’s disease, which, for the moment, has no cure and a very slow progression. The goal of CaringKind’s Training program is to ensure that professional and family caregivers are prepared to care for a person with dementia throughout the longevity of their disease, which in many cases can span more than ten years.

Our nationally recognized training models seek to enhance knowledge, develop skills, and provide support. Caregivers often enter training with misinformation on the causes of dementia and have unrealistic expectations of those they care for. Both our professional and family/friends training programs spend a significant amount of time on the causes and progression of dementia-related diseases. Our Dementia Care Trainers ensure that information is provided in a didactic manner so that each group attains an individualized learning experience to relate that knowledge of dementia to the person they care for.

By providing family/friend caregivers with a better understanding of the stages a person with dementia may experience, we create the opportunity for them to be prepared for the types of care and support the person with dementia will require as they progress through their illness. Creating an informed plan of care and anticipating the types of financial and medical decisions that will need to take place become more feasible. Because of the nature of progressive dementias and the lack of curative treatments, it is crucial that caregivers understand the disease and have an opportunity to think of the types of financial and healthcare decisions they will need to tackle later on. Family members and friends supporting a person with cognitive impairment require continued access to information and supportive services throughout the long course of the illness. CaringKind offers a ten-hour, interactive program designed to improve the quality of life of caregivers and the person with dementia. Topics covered include understanding dementia, effective communication, all behaviors having meaning, safety in the home, caring for the caregiver, and designing strength-based activities.

No one person can provide care to someone with dementia on a 24-hour basis. As people progress through their illness, family members and friends find it necessary to incorporate professional caregivers to support the person with dementia’s advancing needs. As the person’s needs progress, the assistance of a paid caregiver often becomes a necessity. Professional caregivers may receive one or two hours of instruction as part of their licensing or certification process. Most professional caregivers are exposed to the challenges of caring for someone with dementia while on the job and problem-solve as best they can. This trial-and-error method of learning creates a tremendous amount of stress on both the person with the impairment and the caregiver attempting to establish a relationship. At CaringKind we realize the impact that proper training has on the caregiving system as a whole. We provide paid caregivers with the opportunity to register for our six-week, nationally recognized program that aims to help paid caregivers provide the highest quality of care to persons with dementia. This 45-hour program utilizes a person-centered approach to dementia care, which emphasizes the importance of an individual's needs, preferences, and strengths. Paid caregivers who are prepared to care for a person with dementia experience higher job satisfaction and are less likely to seek other employment or leave the caregiving field. In addition, training reduces stress and affords the paid caregiver the opportunity to better understand how to communicate with their client and establish better relationships.

It is crucial that we invest in developing and training the human resource type of treatment available to people with dementia because, currently, it is the only effective type of care we have.

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