02/20/07 — Alzheimer's caregiver workshop next week

View Archive

Alzheimer's caregiver workshop next week

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on February 20, 2007 1:45 PM

Caring for someone with dementia can take its toll on friends and family.

Alzheimer's Association of Eastern North Carolina is sponsoring a free workshop next week designed to build knowledge and skills for professional, family and community caregivers.

It will be held Tuesday at St. Paul's United Methodist Church at 204 E. Chestnut Street from 9:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.

While there is no charge for the workshop, pre-registration is required by Thursday. To registers, call Anne Paugh at 759-2267.

Melanie Bunn, lead trainer and consultant for the association based in Raleigh, said the target audience is anyone associated with a person who has dementia.

"A family member providing direct care, whose loved one is in the care of others, or out of town, maybe a person concerned about a neighbor or church member .... Sometimes people are concerned for themselves," she said.

The educational sessions can also be a good form of support.

"People who care about you can care about you, but they just don't get it. They just don't understand what it is like to have somebody in your family or your community or social group with dementia," Ms. Bunn said. "But they don't get it. We get it."

There are a lot of little things that can be done to make a huge difference, she said. The climate around the subject has already begun to change at a rapid pace.

"We're learning more things every day...Ten or 15 years ago, we would have told people with dementia, 'Good luck,' but now we really truly have things we can offer people," she said.

Previously, emotional support would be all that could be offered. Now there are techniques and strategies that can make lives easier, she said.

"One out of 10 people are directly affected by Alzheimer's disease or dementia. One out of three are indirectly affected, so it affects people in ways that we can't begin to identify," Ms. Bunn said. "It's kind of a hidden disease and people kind of keep it behind closed doors ... that's not good for anybody."

A light lunch and refreshments will be provided and respite services are also available by calling Dee Dee Harris at 800-228-8738.