FAAC educational event for caregivers set for April

The Fremont Area Alzheimer’s Committee (FAAC) is sponsoring a full day educational event designed for family and professional caregivers on Thursday, April 20th at Kimmel Theater on the campus of Midland University.

The event called Finding Hope, Humor & Heart in Caregiving will feature author Elaine Sanchez who wrote “Letters from Madelyn, Chronicles of a Caregiver”, which deals with challenges of being a caregiver through the story of a 70-year-old Kansas woman named Madelyn Kubin who becomes a family caregiver after her husband suffers a stroke.

At the event Sanchez will be giving two keynote addresses as well as conducting interactive sessions on caregiver anger and guilt, depression and grief, managing dementia-related challenging behaviors, and self-care.

“Our main purpose is to make the public aware of Alzheimer’s disease and to provide that caregiver education to help alleviate some of the stress and uncertainty of not knowing what to do,” Committee President Riley Faulkner said.

“So we like to host this event every year, usually at Midland, and we try to bring in credible speakers that have experience with dementia and Alzheimer’s.”

The event will begin with a keynote address from Sanchez from 9:15 to 10:30 a.m., and will be capped off by another address from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.

Sanchez, who co-founded the website caregiverhelp.com, will also be conducting an interactive session of caregiver self-care.

“Often times caregivers get burnt out, there is a lot of stress devoting all of their time toward taking care of somebody with dementia, typically a loved one, and they forget to take care of themselves,” Faulkner said.

Family caregivers of those who have Alzheimer’s and dementia often find it difficult to make time for themselves because of some of the behaviors associated with the diseases.

“Every form of dementia is different but some experience behaviors such as hallucinations, and some have a problem with wandering, so a lot of those factors can make a day to day living a challenge for the caregiver,” Faulkner said.

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The FAAC formed as a collaborative effort in 2008 between local organizations and individuals to fund research to end Alzheimer’s disease and impart education for those providing care.

Out of the funds raised, 60 percent goes toward funding institutions conducting cutting edge research in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The remaining 40 percent is used for grants to fund caregiver support and programming in the Fremont area.

According to information on the Alzheimer’s Association’s website, the disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

“When people are faced with the challenges of it they don’t know where to turn, who to talk to and what to do so that’s the primary focus of our education event is to reach those caregivers that have no other avenue, and no one to turn to understand and know what to expect next,” Faulkner said.

The event is free to the public and professional caregivers will receive 5 continued education units (CEU) by attending the full event. Lunch will also be provided from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

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