WILSON, N.C. — The tenth annual Caregiver Education Conference is scheduled for Tuesday, March 5, 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.

The morning keynote speaker will be Daniel Kaufer, MD, Chief of Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology and director of the University of North Carolina Memory Disorders Clinic as well as director of the UNC-Chapel Hill Carolina Alzheimer’s Network. The focus of his remarks will be “Diagnosing Dementia: Taking a Look Back to Help Us Move Forward.” Melanie Bunn, MS, RN, GNP, Dementia Training Specialist for Alzheimers North Carolina, Inc., will serve as the afternoon keynote speaker and will address “Looking Back, Looking Forward, Finding Joy in the Journey.”

“Our speakers throughout the day will bring research, experience, and expertise to this annual 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 breakout sessions.”

The conference will welcome a diverse range of local and regional professionals, as well as Barton faculty and Barton Gerontology students to conduct breakout sessions.

The Caregiver Education Conference will be held in Hamlin Student Center on the Barton College campus, and lunch will be provided. Advance registration is required. Attendees will begin on-site registration for the conference at 8 a.m., and the program will begin 9 a.m. and end at 4 p.m.  The Exhibitor Tables will be available from 8 a.m. – 9 a.m. during Registration and again during the morning and afternoon break sessions scheduled for 10:45 a.m. and 2 p.m. Conference participants will have a chance to visit exhibitors, pick up information, and ask questions.

“The conference provides a centralized location for family caregivers to interact directly with professionals and our Barton Gerontology students, as well as to hear about the variety of programs and services available providing support, resources, and advice,” continued Dr. Fulks. “The convenience of attending the one-day conference 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 morning keynote, there will be four breakout sessions from which to choose one to attend. They include: “Dining With Dementia: A Practical Interactive Workshop,” led by Susan McGuire, MR, Director of Older Adult Ministries, Edenton Street United Methodist Church in Raleigh; “Through The Eyes A Child: Helping Children Deal with Family Caregiving Issues,” led by Steven Fulks, Ph.D., and Barton Gerontology students, Madison Cauley and Anna Batts; “Laughter Really Is The Best Medicine: As Introduction to Laughter Yoga,” led by Kim Emory, Family Caregiver Resource Specialist, Upper Coastal Plain COG Area Agency on Aging; and “The Building Blocks of Caregiving: An Interactive Skill Building Session For New Caregivers, led by Lisa Levine, Program Director for Alzheimers North Carolina, Inc. Barton Gerontology students Autumn Herrin and Sandy Dickerson will also be available, at an interactive station throughout the day, to present their comparison/contrast of the various Home Alert systems available.

A noon lunch will be provided for participants. Breakout sessions will be repeated in the afternoon at 1 p.m. Following the 2 p.m. break session with exhibitors, the afternoon keynote session will begin at 2:15 p.m. The conference will conclude with a brief closing with door prizes and a time for evaluation.

“The Caregiver Education 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,” continued Dr. Fulks. “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 $10 registration fee. (Scholarships to cover the cost by Alzheimers North Carolina, Inc. upon request.)  Clergy, students, and volunteers may also register at the $10 fee rate. Registration for professionals is $35 per person. Professionals desiring continuing education credits also may receive five hours of CEU’s for an additional $10 fee. Parking is free. Directions to the campus are available at www.barton.edu/maps.

Respite reimbursement is available; prior approval is necessary. Please contact DeeDee Harris at 919-832-3732 for information.

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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