Wilson, N.C. – The seventh annual Caregiver Education Conference is scheduled for Tuesday, March 16, on the Barton College campus.

The Gerontology Program of Barton College, Alzheimers North Carolina Inc., 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 join Alice Watkins, Executive Director of Alzheimers North Carolina Inc., to 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 Melanie Bunn and Teepa Snow,” 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. – 3:45 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 the introductory remarks will be the opening keynote address “What is Going On Across the Country Related to Dementia & Alzheimer’s?” by Melanie Bunn, MS, RN, GNP, Dementia Training Specialist with Alzheimers North Carolina Inc., and Teepa Snow, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA, Dementia Care and Training Specialist, Positive Approach, LLC.  They will discuss current research efforts and how these efforts, past and present, are affecting those afflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease and their families.

Late morning workshops will include “Becoming a Better Care Partner: Learning What is Happening for Them So You Can Change Your Approach & Care Behaviors” led by Bunn. A second option will be “Managing Behavior – Putting Together Pieces of the Puzzle for Success,” led by Snow.

Following the morning sessions, there will be a noon lunch for participants.

The afternoon workshops begin with four options: “Prepare to Care: What Caregivers Need to Know” by Susanne LaFollette-Black, AARP-NC Associate State Director, and Dr. Luci Bearon, Cooperative Extension Aging Specialist; “Faith and Alzheimer’s Disease” led by the Reverend Dr. James E. Brown, First Missionary Baptist Church in Jacksonville; “Overview of Hospice for Health Care Providers” led by Hope Leicester, LPN, Community Educator, Community Home Care, and Hospice; and “Chronic Disease Self Management Program: Taking Care of Yourself to Better Care for Others” led by Abigail Walton, Regional Ombudsman & Health Promotion Disease Prevention Coordinator in Wilson.

Following the afternoon workshops, Snow and Bunn will deliver the closing keynote presentation titled “Managing Healthcare for the Person with Dementia Throughout the Disease Process.”

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 Alzheimers North Carolina Inc. 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.  Parking is free.

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, at 252-234-5960, or email: 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.

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