Dementia discussion scheduled

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Caregiver Relief Program of Middle Tennessee will host its second annual Caregiver Empowerment Conference on Aug. 17 at Shelbyville Recreation Center.

This year's conference will have the theme "Dementia University." The event is free and open to both family caregivers and to professionals, and it will be livestreamed on Facebook for those who cannot attend in person. Last year, the conference was attended by between 50 and 75 people and the livestream was watched by more than 200, according to Caregiver Relief Program director Joyce Adams.

Session details

Lunch is included and respite care is available for dementia patients so that their caregivers can attend the conference, but arrangements must be made in advance when the caregiver registers for the conference.

The conference will begin at 9 a.m. with a complimentary breakfast.

Session topics will include:

l Safety nets and legalese for seniors

l What's the deal with respite?

l Alzheimer's disease and care options

l Adaptive technologies

l Music and memory

l Staying at home

Caregiver Relief Program, as its name implies, exists to serve those who care for family members with dementia. The stress of caring for a dementia patient can be overwhelming, and caregivers often need services like respite care to allow them to meet their own needs. The program began in Shelbyville and has expanded into several other Middle Tennessee counties.

Client survey

The program did a survey of its clients in May, receiving 18 responses. Of those 18 families, caregivers have been giving care to dementia patients in their home for a total of 128.5 years, with the average being 7.56 years.

l 24 percent of respondents were caring for their husband

l 24 percent were caring for their wife

l 41 percent were caring for their mother

l 5 percent were caring for their father

l 5 percent were caring for their grandmother.

Caregivers ranged in age from 44 to 83, with 65 being the average. The dementia patients ranged in age from 64 to 96, with 83 being the average.

Hard effects

A total of 71 percent of the caregivers surveyed said that caring for their loved one adversely affected their relationships with other friends and family.

Because the survey was conducted through Caregiver Relief Program, all of the survey respondents had a source of outside care or assistance, which had been arranged for by the program.

For more information about the conference, call 931-685-9039. For more information about Caregiver Relief Program and its services, call that number or go to caregiverreliefmidtn.org.