Wilson, N.C. —The eighth annual Caregiver Education Conference is scheduled for Tuesday, March 15, 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 local, regional and national professionals conducting sessions at this year’s Caregiver Education Conference, including keynote speakers Melanie Bunn and Teepa Snow,” said Steven Fulks, Ph.D., 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 a.m., with the program running from 9 a.m. – 4 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’s new in the world of dementia and what does it mean to you?” 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 “I’m a Caregiver, Now What?” led by Bunn. A second option will be “Continuing on the Caregiver Path,” led by Snow.

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

The afternoon workshops begin with three options: “Do You Have the Tools to Advocate for Your Loved One?” led by Abigail Harper, Regional LTC Ombudsman & Health Promotions Coordinator, and Helen Burke, Regional LTC Ombudsman, Upper Coastal Plains COG;  “When Alzheimer’s Touches a Family” led by Rebecca Jarrard, RN, Alzheimer’s Caregiver Specialist, author; and “Viewing and Discussion of a segment from HBO’s ‘The Alzheimer’s Project: Caregivers” led by Lisa Levine, Program Director, Alzheimers North Carolina, Inc. and members of the Barton College Gerontology Program.

Following the afternoon workshops, Snow and Bunn will deliver the closing keynote presentation titled “Don’t Be Afraid to Ask: Q and A with Melanie and Teepa.”

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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