Ninth Annual Caregiver Education Conference Scheduled at Barton College on March 6

WILSON, N.C. — The ninth annual Caregiver Education Conference is scheduled for Tuesday, March 6, 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 look forward to the diverse range of local, regional and national professionals conducting sessions at this year’s Caregiver Education Conference, including keynote speakers Lisa P. Gwyther and Melanie Bunn,” said Steven Fulks, Ph.D., director of the Gerontology Program. “These speakers bring 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 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 conference provides a centralized location for family caregivers to interact directly with professionals and to hear about the variety of programs and services available that provide 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 introductory remarks will be the first of two keynote addresses, “Caregiver Alternatives to Running on Empty,” presented by Lisa P. Gwyther, MSW, LCSW, Director of the Duke Aging Center Family Support Program. The second keynote address, “Empower your care by empowering your skills,” will be delivered by Melanie Bunn, MS, RN, GNP, Dementia Training Specialist with Alzheimers North Carolina Inc.

Following the keynote addresses, there will be a noon lunch for participants.

Afternoon breakout sessions, scheduled for 1 p.m. and 2:15 p.m., will include: “Legal Information for the Caregiver,” led by Gregory Wallace, elder lawyer with Monroe Wallace Law Group; “Prepare to Care,” led by Suzanne Lafollette-Black, associate state director for Community Outreach for AARP North Carolina; “Medication & Pain Management for the Person with Dementia,” led by Bunn; and “Positive Aging: Healthy Lifestyle Habits for the Caregiver,” led by Lisa Levine, program director for Alzheimers North Carolina, Inc.

Participants are asked to choose two of the four sessions.

There will be two breaks at 2 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. for participants to visit exhibitors, pick up information, and ask questions.

The conference will conclude with a final session, “Caring for Ourselves: Putting You First,” followed by a brief closing with door prizes and a time for evaluation.

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.)  Clergy, students, and volunteers may also register at the $5 fee rate. Registration for professionals 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. Directions to the campus are available at

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:


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