Caregiver program to be offered

A family member caring for a relative with life altering memory difficulties is not an easy job; it’s every day, all day and it progressively gets worse.

If you or someone you know is caring for a person with dementia, the Creating Confident Caregivers Program is available to help you better understand the condition and how to best interact to reduce the confusion.

“Family caregivers are a growing population in our community. Whether they are caring for parents or caring for a spouse or other relative, it can be time consuming and worrisome.” said Kara LaMarre, who is Region 9 Area Agency on Aging’s master trainer for the program. “Caring for a family member who is experiencing memory difficulties can be especially trying.”

Many caregivers are in this care situation without fully understanding dementia or how it drives the actions of family members. There are the angry outbursts, constant questions, occasional wandering and many other behaviors that can be frustrating. Caregivers often become isolated due to their family member’s unpredictable behavior.

The continuous care provided by family caregivers allows the person with dementia to stay at home, but the caregiver’s well-being often suffers. Family caregivers often overlook their own needs, which can lead to difficulty in coping and other health concerns.

The Creating Confident Caregivers Program helps family members in this type of care situation assume a new role in life for which they are generally unprepared and untrained. The program provides them with a well-developed knowledge of dementia and a clinical perspective on caregiving.

Family caregivers are taught to develop and modify skills they learn in the workshop to accomplish the goal of their caregiving. A key part of the program’s success is caregivers learning ways to help the person with memory loss feel valued, safe, secure, and content and involved.

Creating Confident Caregivers currently is available in Alpena through a federal grant from the U.S. Administration on Aging to the Michigan Office of Services to the Aging, Region 9 Area Agency on Aging. There is no charge to participants for the sessions or materials.

Space is limited for the Creating Confident Caregiver sessions. A workshop begins May 28 from 6-8 p.m. at the NEMCSA Annex 2569 US 23 Alpena. The class meets for two hours one day a week for six consecutive weeks. For program qualification information or to register contact LaMarre at 358-4616.