WILSON, N.C. – The sixth annual Caregiver Education Conference is scheduled for Tuesday, March 24, on the Barton College campus.

The Gerontology Program of Barton College, the Eastern North Carolina Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, the Upper Coastal Plain Area Agency on Aging Family Caregiver Support Program, and Joseph D. Russell, M.D., have teamed up to sponsor this significant series of workshops and keynote addresses.

The Caregiver Education Conference welcomes back Dr. Russell, a doctor of internal medicine in Wilson since 1975, who will open the conference with introductory greetings to the participants.  Passionate about his commitment and support of furthering patient education, Dr. Russell generously supports this conference through an endowment he made in memory of his mother, Lillian Hester McDaniel Russell, who served as a caregiver for her husband, Norman, following his stroke and, later, declining health.  This endowment also honors caregivers across the state.

“We are very excited about the range of professionals conducting sessions at this year’s Caregiver Education Conference, including keynote speakers Dan Kaufer, M.D., an associate professor in the Department of Neurology and the director of the Memory and Cognitive Disorders Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Melanie Bunn, a registered nurse, general nurse practitioner, and a dementia training specialist with the Eastern N.C. Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, ” said Steven Fulks, Ph.D., dean of the  Barton College School of Behavioral Sciences and director of the Gerontology Program. “These speakers bring a wealth of experience and expertise to this conference. Participants can be assured that they will benefit greatly from the practical knowledge they will gain from these keynote sessions as well as the workshops.”

The Caregiver Education Conference will be held in Hamlin Student Center on the Barton College campus, and lunch will be provided. On-site registration for the conference will begin at 8:30 a.m., with the program running from 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.  Advance registration is encouraged.

“The beauty of this conference is that it brings together the family caregivers with the professionals, programs, and services providing support, resources, and advice in one centralized location,” continued Dr. Fulks. “The convenience of attending the one-day conference really maximizes the educational opportunities for the caregivers within their limited schedules.”

The focus of the conference will be to explore various techniques and strategies that caregivers can use to care for themselves and persons with dementia, to identify resources for developing daily routines and programs that meet the needs of people with dementia and their caregivers, and to describe the most recent and effective assessment, treatment, and care options available for people with dementia.

Following Dr. Russell’s opening remarks, Dr. Kaufer will deliver the morning keynote address titled “The Latest in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.”

Late morning workshops will include “Long Term Care Placement of Individuals with Dementia and the Impact on the Family,” led by Peggy Smith, program director for the Eastern N.C. Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.  A second option will be the “Complaints of a Dutiful Daughter,” led by Dr. Fulks and students from Barton College’s Gerontology Program. This workshop will focus on the Oscar-nominated, Emmy award-winning documentary that offers a lighthearted and hopeful look at the various stages of a mother’s Alzheimer’s disease and the daughter’s changing response to the illness.  And, the third morning workshop option will be “Person-Centered Activities: Focusing on Remaining Strengths” led by Carole Netherton, program and family services coordinator for the Eastern N.C. Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Following the noon-scheduled lunch break, afternoon workshops will begin.  Three options will be offered including “The Role of Humor in Caregiving” by Ed Rosenberg, Ph.D., director of the Appalachian State University Gerontology Program, “Legal Considerations Related to Dementia” by Greg Wallace, an elder lawyer with Monroe & Wallace law firm in Raleigh, and “Music , Therapy and Dementia” led by Steve Toll, musician, trainer and director of Prescription Music.

Bunn’s closing keynote address, “Finding Meaning in Providing Dementia Care: What You Do, What They Do, and How to Make a Difference,” will conclude the afternoon activities.

This conference will be extremely helpful for family caregivers, and professional caregivers including nurses, direct care workers, CNAs, social workers, care managers, rehabilitation professionals, and community providers.  It will also be beneficial for volunteers including clergy, day program directors, and transportation workers, church members, students in health programs or gerontology, and EMS and law enforcement personnel.

The Caregiver Education Conference is available for families and volunteers to attend for a $5 registration fee.  (This fee can be covered by the Alzheimer’s Association upon request.)  Registration for professional caregivers is $25 per person. Professionals desiring continuing education credits also may receive five hours of CEU’s for an additional $10 fee.

To register in advance or to receive additional information, please contact Kim Emory, Family Caregiver Specialist for the Upper Coastal Plain Area Agency on Aging, by calling 252-234-5960, or sending a fax to 252-234-5971 or emailing kemory@ucpcog.org.

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Questions?  Please contact Kathy Daughety, director of public relations, at 252-399-6529 or email kdaughety@barton.edu.