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Savvy Caregiver Program sessions set

By Staff | Jan 6, 2016

Caregivers can improve their life and the life of their loved one through a free program.

Hosted by the Alvin A. Dubin Alzheimer’s Resource Center, the Savvy Caregiver Program will take place on Wednesdays from Jan. 27 through March 3. Participants can select the 2-4 p.m. sessions at Grace Church or the 6-8 p.m. sessions at Choices in Living Adult Day Care. Both are in the Cape.

“It’s to help the caregiver develop basic knowledge of the disease and the basic skills to not only care for their loved one, but to provide self-care for themselves,” Mary Freyre, with the center, said.

Grace Church will provide respite care at the church during the sessions; the other location will not.

The educational program is designed to train family caregivers in the basic knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to handle the challenges of caring for a family member with Alzheimer’s disease or other related dementia. There is no fee for the program, but seating is limited; register by Jan. 20.

“We have people already signing up,” Freyre, a health education specialist, said on Tuesday.

She estimated that there were 10 to 12 seats available in each class.

“We’ve taught this before,” Freyre said. “The attendees that have been through the program have all said that they’re gained so much.”

Last year, the center hosted the program for the first time using a grant from the Cape Coral Community Foundation. About 28 people completed it; respite care was not provided.

“There’s so many people in need of help,” she said. “There’s such a need all over.”

Each session will follow a presentation format, with topics of discussion.

“We do provide the manuals and a set of four CDs that goes along with the course,” Freyre said.

Participants are allowed to take home and keep the materials.

Topics covered in the program include understanding the Alzheimer’s disease, safety issues that can arise with a loved one and one’s self, focusing on self-care, different types of Alzheimer’s families and roles people play, attitudes of caregivers from different demographics and the role of adult day care.

“We also provide resource information, as well,” she said.

According to Freyre, in a normal relationship two people can talk about why each person does something. The program teaches caregivers how to work around the disease to communicate. For example, a loved one with Alzheimer’s may follow their caregiver around without explanation.

“They may be shadowing you, they may not remember your name or think you’re their mother,” she said. “We help the caregiver understand that – it’s handling the challenges of being a caregiver.”

The sessions go over the importance of self-care for care givers.

“So many caregivers, like a parent, put ourselves on the back burner. You have to care for yourself,” Freyre said. “If you can’t care for yourself, how are you going to take care of your loved one?”

The program also covers what caregivers can do if they get hurt.

“A lot of times they don’t think about that,” she said, adding that there should be a plan in place.

Those interested in signing up should ensure that they can attend most of the sessions.

“We do recommend that you attend all six,” Freyre said.

To register for Savvy Caregiver Program, contact the center at (239) 437-3007.

Grace Church is located at 13 S.E. 21st Place.

The Choices in Living Adult Day Care is at 3812 Skyline Blvd.