WILSON’S LOCAL PRINT AND DIGITAL COMMUNITY INSTITUTION SINCE 1896

Annual conference offers strategies for caregivers

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The 15th annual Caregiver Education Conference “Navigating the Dementia Maze” will be held on Tuesday, March 6, in the Hamlin Student Center on the campus of Barton College in Wilson.

The Gerontology Program at Barton College, Alzheimer’s North Carolina and the Upper Coastal Plain Area Agency on Aging Family Caregiver Support Program will partner to present the conference. The conference, and the series of caregiver conferences conducted across North Carolina, owe their origin to Dr. Joseph D. Russell of Wilson. This year’s conference is dedicated to Russell, who died in November.

The conference is supported through an endowment that Russell established in memory of his mother, Lillian Hester McDaniel Russell, who served as a caregiver for her husband, Norman, following his stroke and, later, declining health. This endowment also honors family caregivers across the state.

Registration for family caregivers, clergy, volunteers and students (with lunch included) is $10 per person. Registration for professional caregivers will be $40 per person and will include 4.5 CEU’s. Please visit https://www2.ncdhhs.gov/dhsr/acls/ceu.html for more information regarding CEU’s and learning objectives. Respite reimbursement is available with prior approval. A limited number of scholarships to cover registration, for family caregivers only, are also available.

Same-day registration will be on a space-available basis. Early registration is encouraged to ensure a seat. To submit your registration or to request additional information about the conference, respite reimbursement, or scholarships for family caregivers, contact Lisa Levine at Alzheimer’s North Carolina, 9131 Anson Way, Suite 206, Raleigh, NC 27615, call 1-800-228-8738 or email: llevine@alznc.org.

THE CONFERENCE

The day will begin with check-in at 8 a.m., followed by an opening welcome at 9 a.m. At 9:30 a.m., the morning keynote will be delivered by Melanie Bunn, dementia training specialist with Alzheimer’s NC, who will discuss “Keeping the Peace: Is it Possible when Dementia Progresses?” After the keynote session, there will be an opportunity at 11 a.m. for participants to meet with exhibitors for additional information and to ask questions.

Following the break, there will be four breakout sessions.

Dave and Jo Ann Wood of the local AARP chapter will share their caregiving journey and experiences; a panel comprised of members of the Upper Coastal Plain Area Agency on Aging, Amanda Biggs of NC Project C.A.R.E., and Ashley Winstead of Nash County, will discuss caregiver resources as they relate to “Family Dynamics and Caregiving”; Barton gerontology program alumna Kacy Hall, director of community outreach for Alzheimer’s NC, will present “Improving Quality of Life through the Power of Music”; and Barton alumna Vicki Dougherty, coordinator for community outreach at Vidant Wellness Center, will present “Decision Making and Advanced Care Planning.”

Lunch will be served at 12:30 p.m., with the four breakout sessions will be repeated at 1:30 p.m. to ensure participants can attend a second option of the four sessions.

At 2:45 p.m., there will be a break for visiting with exhibitors in the afternoon followed by the 3 p.m. afternoon keynote address by Dr. Kathleen Welsh-Bohmer, professor and chief of medical psychology, Department of Psychiatry and Behaviors Sciences,and director of the Joseph and Kathleen Bryan Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Duke University, who will address “Looking Ahead — Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease by 2025.”

The goal of this conference is to explore various techniques and strategies caregivers can use to care for themselves and for individuals with dementia, to identify resources to assist in developing routines and programs to meet their needs, and to explore recent and effective assessment, treatment and care options.

“Our Caregiver Education Conference is designed for family caregivers and professionals in the field,” said Steven Fulks, director of the Barton College gerontology program. “It brings both groups together at one location. The conference attracts direct care workers, social workers, care managers, rehabilitation professionals, medical personnel and community service providers. Our blending of nationally and regionally known authorities with local professionals in the field provides a sound educational experience. We offer information programs for family caregivers, continuing educational opportunities for professionals, and the venue for the caregiver and the professional to find each other and interact.”

Again this year, the conference will offer attendees the opportunity to participate in the Virtual Dementia Tour. The Virtual Dementia Tou is a sensitivity and awareness experience created for anyone seeking to understand the physical and mental challenges of those with dementia.

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