17th Annual Caregiver Education Conference Scheduled for Wednesday, March 4

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WILSON, N.C. — February 13, 2020 — The 17th annual Caregiver Education Conference will be held on Wednesday, March 4, in Hardy Alumni Hall on the campus of Barton College in Wilson. The conference will begin at 9 a.m. and conclude at 1 p.m.

The Gerontology Program at Barton College, Dementia Alliance (formerly Alzheimer’s North Carolina), and the Upper Coastal Plain Area Agency on Aging Family Caregiver Support Program will again partner to present the conference. The Barton conference, and the series of caregiver conferences conducted across North Carolina, owe their origin to the late Joseph D. Russell, M.D. This year’s conference is dedicated to Sarah Poole Russell, Dr. Russell’s wife, who passed away in 2018.

The Caregiver Education Conference at Barton is generously supported through an endowment that Dr. Russell established 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 family caregivers across the state.

Registration for family caregivers, clergy, volunteers, and students is $10 per person. Registration for professional caregivers will be $40 per person and will include 3 CEU’s. Please visit https://www2.ncdhhs.gov/dhsr/acls/ceu.html for more information regarding CEU’s and learning objectives. Respite reimbursement is available with prior approval. A limited number of scholarships to cover registration, for family caregivers, are also available.

Same-day registration will be on a space-available basis. Early registration is encouraged to ensure a seat. To submit your registration or to request additional information about the conference, respite reimbursement, or scholarships for family caregivers, please contact Lisa Levine at Alzheimer’s North Carolina, 9131 Anson Way, Suite 206, Raleigh, NC 27615, call 1-800-228-8738 or email llevine@DementiaNC.org.

The conference will include three keynote sessions. Melanie Bunn, Dementia Training Specialist with Dementia Alliance of North Carolina, will lead the day’s sessions by addressing how professionals are moving forward with research and care of dementia. Dr. Donna Roberson of the Carolina Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program and Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementia Director will follow with a presentation on safe medication administration for those living with dementia. The final session will feature a panel of three family caregivers with different caregiving responsibilities, sharing their stories in a presentation that includes a question and answer session. Gary Fuquay, Tom McCann, and Rachel Strauss comprise the interactive panel.

This year, the presentations and supportive programs, as well as the service vendors and the refreshments, have been relocated to Hardy Alumni Hall, a larger venue on the Barton campus. By minimizing the transition from session to session, more time will be available for discussions between family caregivers and representatives from the various programs and services in attendance. More than 25 programs and services plan to be on site as resources for family caregivers attending the conference.

The day will begin with check-in and registration at 8 a.m., followed by an Opening Welcome at 9 a.m. by Stephanie Russell Bacon, the daughter of the late Dr. Joe Russell. Between the three sessions, participants will have an opportunity to meet with exhibitors for additional information and to ask follow-up questions. Refreshments will be served throughout the conference.

The goal of the conference is to explore various techniques and strategies caregivers can use to care for themselves and for individuals with dementia, to identify resources to assist in developing routines and programs to meet their needs, and to explore recent and effective assessment, treatment, and care options.

“We are delighted to continue our partnership with Dementia Alliance and the Area Agency on Aging,” shared Dr. Steven Fulks, Director of the Gerontology Program at Barton College. “This is a perfect partnership of practical information, resources, and current research presented by regional authorities.”

The Area Agency on Aging represents and coordinates the vast array of programs and services available to caregivers. Dementia Alliance continues to be a valuable resource for understanding and addressing the challenges of working with individual with dementia of any type. Barton College’s academic program in Gerontology takes an applied approach in preparing students for work in the broader aging network. To bring these two entities together to offer an educational conference for caregivers complements the goal of this well-established academic program. Hosting the large variety of programs and services at the same conference also enables caregivers to learn about program support services, and to meet and discuss these needs immediately after each educational session. Holding the conference during the College Spring Break permits exclusive use of the building and provides easy parking access.

“Were it not for the foresight and support of Dr. Joe Russell, this conference would never have been possible,” added Fulks. “We are pleased that members of his family will continue their active involvement through introducing the conference. We are most pleased to dedicate these conferences to Dr. Russell and his wife Sarah, to Dr. Russell’s mother Hester McDaniel Russell, and in honor of all family caregivers. We are pleased to be part of Dr. Russell’s living legacy.”

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