Strategies and Techniques for the Alzheimer’s Family Caregiver

Alzheimer’s Family CaregiverCaregivers face a variety of challenges when a loved one develops Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or a related disorder, including coping with their own emotions and stress. Caring for a memory-impaired person can be overwhelming. While there are many resources in the community and support groups, there has been a neglect of hands on training when it comes to managing a person with memory impairments daily living tasks. Simple things, such as hygiene, meal prep or getting in and out of a car can be overwhelming if a caregiver doesn’t have the right tools.

The Dubin Alzheimer’s Resource Center and Nurse on Call of Fort Myers, is launching a new family caregiver support service, called “Strategies and Techniques for the Family Caregiver.” The emphasis is on Occupational Therapy (OT) as it relates to Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. It will meet the second Thursday of the month and is open to all family caregivers caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia.

This educational series has two parts; they are broken down as follows:

1.    First, the “Family Caregiver/OT Brainstorm Session” will be held at the Dubin Center. Following the introduction of the Occupational Therapist, the caregivers will be encouraged to express what they are having trouble with at home, e.g., bathing, shadowing, apathy, etc. With this information in hand, the OT can then develop a plan on how to address the caregiver’s concerns when they next meet.

2.    Second, the next session will involve the caregivers and OT meeting at a designated facility (out in the field). This will be an assisted living, adult day stay or home health facility (the Dubin Center’s Health Educator will be there as well). While in the field, the OT will demonstrate ideas, strategies or activities that may help reduce challenging behaviors the caregivers may be experiencing at home. The caregivers will learn about setting up correct “structure and support” based on the remaining skills set of their loved one. Hopefully, this session will also encourage the caregivers to explore ways of keeping their loved one involved and content, thereby reducing caregiver stress.

Each month the cycle will repeat so that we will end up having six “Brainstorming Sessions” at the Dubin Center and six “Strategies and Techniques” sessions in the field. The “Strategies and Techniques” sessions will take place in alternating facilities that have a kitchen, activities room and bedroom. This session last for approximately an hour to an hour and a half, this will allow the OT the opportunity to teach the caregivers in the appropriate setting.

To find out more about locations or times contact Mary C. Freyre, Health Education Specialist at Alvin A Dubin Alzheimer’s Resource Center at (239) 437-3007

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