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Savvy Caregiver Program to be offered at Grace Church

By Staff | May 5, 2017

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 and Grace Church, the Savvy Caregiver Program will take place on Tuesdays from May 16 through June 20 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the church.

Mary Freyre, heath education specialist for the center, explained that the program aims to help caregivers learn about their loved ones and how to navigate and cope with challenging behaviors.

“The disease process can really wear on the caregivers,” she said.

“This gives them basic knowledge and skills,” Freyre added.

The program is made possible with a grant from the Cape Coral Community Foundation.

“We’re very grateful for that,” she said.

As of Thursday, a few people had already signed up.

“There is limited seating,” Freyre said, adding that each course is 12 to 16 people.

“We’ve got plenty of room right now,” she added.

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 May 15.

“This is not a support group,” Freyre said. “It is an educational program.”

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.

“Learning how to communicate with your loved one,” she said. “Taking charge of a situation.”

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

“We start teaching them how they can take care of themselves,” Freyre said.

“If they can’t take care of themselves, they can’t take care of their loved one,” she added.

During the sessions, Grace Church will provide respite care and snacks at no cost. Participants who choose to bring their loved one along will be required to have their loved one undergo a screening.

Freyre noted that the screening is to look for violent behavior and such.

“They don’t have to bring their loved one,” she said.

Participants will be given materials to keep, including CDs and the class manuel.

“They can turn around and share those with family members,” Freyre said.

A list of local resources will also be provided.

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

The center is at 12468 Brantley Commons Court in Fort Myers.

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