Fifth Annual Caregiver Education Conference Scheduled at Barton College on March 18

Wilson, N.C. – “I love the description – caregiver,” shared Dr. Joseph D. Russell of Wilson during a recent interview. “I often hear people referred to as caretakers, but these people are truly caregivers.” And, caregivers are among the targeted audience for the fifth annual Caregiver Education Conference scheduled for Thursday, March 18, 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, the Kerr-Tar Regional Agency on Aging, Appalachian State University’s graduate program in Gerontology and Joseph Russell, MD, of Wilson have teamed up to sponsor this significant series of workshops and keynote addresses.

“We are very excited about the range of professionals conducting sessions at this year’s Caregiver Education Conference including, but not limited to, Dr. Ed Rosenberg of Appalachian State University, who joins us from the extreme western part of the state, and Teepa Snow, who is taking a brief break from a hectic cross-country traveling schedule to participate in this conference for the fifth straight year,” said Dr. Steven Fulks, dean of the Barton College School of Behavioral Sciences and director of the Gerontology Program.

The 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 maximizes the educational opportunities for the caregivers within their limited schedules.”

The focus of this educational 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.

Dr. Russell, a doctor of Internal Medicine in Wilson since 1975, is passionate about educating patients and their families through a host of networks, in and out of the physician’s office. He chose this significant opportunity to support that passion by endowing the annual Caregiver Education Conference held at Barton College each spring. The endowment was made in memory of his mother, Lillian Hester McDaniel Russell. It also honors caregivers across the state.

“Even before I heard there was going to be a caregiver conference at Barton, I would be in conversations at the hospital concerning the need for a venue where we could discuss with families the challenges of caring for loved ones before they are abruptly faced with decisions in the hospital, ER, ICU, or office,” said Dr. Russell. “I am pleased that Barton began this effort in partnership with other agencies, and I’m glad to offer my support.

Following the welcome and introductions, featured speaker Dr. Russell will open the day’s sessions with the presentation “Physician and Family Collaboration in Determining Patient Care.”

The morning keynote address will be “Fact vs. Fiction: The Latest in Research Treatment and Caregiver Support Strategies,” presented by Melanie Bunn, Dementia Care Specialist with the Alzheimer’s Association – Eastern NC Chapter. With more awareness of dementia by the general public, it is sometimes hard to know which information is reliable and up-to-date, and this session will look at the many ideas presented through the media.

Late morning workshops will include “Snoezelize Your Dementia Environment” by Lynsey A. Capone, Master of Arts degree candidate in Gerontology at Appalachian State University. She will focus on multi-sensory environments in dementia care. “Powerful Tools for Caregivers Overview” will focus on giving family caregivers the skills and confidence to care for themselves while caring for others. This workshop will be led by leaders Kim Emory, family caregiver specialist with the Upper Coastal Plain Agency on Aging, and Melissa Jones, family caregiver specialist with the Kerr-Tar Regional Agency on Aging. The third morning workshop option will be “It Came Out of Left Field,” a panel discussion with a physician, family caregivers, and counselors. They will focus on “an ounce of prevention vs. “crisis management” in planning for dementia care.

Lunch will be served from noon to 1 p.m.

Afternoon workshops will include “Secure Project: Senior Adult Sensitivity Program” with leaders Kim Emory and Melissa Jones. This will focus on seeing the world through the customers’ eyes. Also on tap will be “Making the Home Safe for Individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease,” with a focus on setting up the home environment efficiently, safely and thoughtfully for the needs of the individual with dementia. Leading this program will be Carole Netherton, Program and Family Services Coordinator with the Alzheimer’s Association – Eastern NC Chapter. Rounding out the afternoon workshops will be Ed Rosenburg, Ph.D., Director of the Graduate Program in Gerontology at Appalachian State University, who will discuss “Powerful Tools for Caregivers – How Do We Know It Works?”

The afternoon keynote address will focus on “Practical Tips and Strategies for Positive Interactions and Outcomes” by Teepa Snow, Dementia Training Specialist with the Alzheimer’s Association-Eastern NC Chapter.

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. Professionals desiring continuing education credits 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

Questions? Please contact Kathy Daughety, director of public relations, at 252-399-6529 or email