Thursday, July 26, 2012

Alzheimer’s & Dementia Resource Center in Orlando Receives Caregiver Training Grant

ORLANDO, FL– The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) recently awarded a $5,000 grant to the Alzheimer’s & Dementia Resource Center in Orlando, FL to underwrite a new caregiving training program that will enhance the skill levels of local family caregivers of loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia.

    The award is one of six $5,000 grants that AFA presented to grassroots organizations as part of its biannual grant process.

    With the grant, the Orlando organization will start a training program, “ABCs of Caregiving,” to help fill a gap in training in basic caregiving skills. The curriculum includes an award-winning basic caregiving program developed by the American Red Cross and advanced education course that focuses on skills unique to caring for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia.

    “Caregivers will be taught the skills they need to be more effective and responsive at addressing the needs of their loved ones,” said Nancy Squillacioti, ADRC’s executive director. “When caregivers are more confident of their abilities, they are generally happier as well.”

    In particular, they will be educated in skills aimed at keeping their loved ones healthy, such as taking blood pressure, good nutrition and how to prevent bed sores.

    As part of the program, the center will arrange free in-home respite care so caregivers can attend the classes.

    With this feature, Squillacioti said, “Our hope is that the caregivers will learn the benefits of using in-home care agencies to augment the family-based care they provide and give them the confidence that they can leave their loved one with another caregiver.”

    ADRC has been providing dementia-specific programs in central Florida for almost three decades, including referrals to community resources, educational counseling, workshops, support groups and training for professional caregivers.

    Educating caregivers aligns with research studies that show that family caregivers who receive education and support can delay institutionalization of loved ones by 18 months.

    Support services for caregivers are in increasing demand in Florida, where an estimated 450,000 people are currently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. According to the state’s Department of Elder Affairs, that number is projected to grow to 590,000 by 2025.

    In announcing the grant, Eric J. Hall, AFA’s president and chief executive officer, said:  “We applaud the Alzheimer’s & Dementia Resource Center for taking steps to respond to the growing needs of caregivers and to promote healthier caregiving. Knowledge empowers caregivers and can help ease the journey with this devastating disease.”

    AFA awards grants twice a year to its nonprofit member organizations to develop or enhance programs and services that improve quality of life for individuals with dementia and their families.

   The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, based in New York, is a national nonprofit organization that unites more than 1,600 independent member organizations nationwide with the goal of providing optimal care and services to individuals with dementia, their caregivers and families. Its services include counseling and referrals by licensed social workers via a toll-free hot line, e-mail, Skype and live chat; educational materials; a free quarterly magazine for caregivers; and professional training. For more information, call toll-free 866-232-8484 or visit                                       ###

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Monthly Support Group Schedule

The Alzheimer’s & Dementia Resource Center (ADRC) provides monthly professionally facilitated support groups for caregivers and family members as noted below.

1st Tuesday @ 10:00 A.M. Easter Seals Daybreak at the Miller Center Support Group
(respite care available 407-629-4565) 2010 Mizell Avenue, Winter Park, FL 32792

1st Tuesday @ 6:30 P.M. The Heritage at Lake Forest Support Group
5433 West State Road 46, Sanford, FL 32771

1st Thursday @ 10:00 A.M. Men’s Breakfast Club 
3rd Thursday @ 10:00 A.M. Mt. Vernon Inn
An informal and unstructured gathering of male caregivers

110 S. Orlando Avenue, Winter Park, FL 32789

2nd Tuesday @ 10:00 A.M. Home Caregiver’s Support Group
Reeves United Methodist Church use the Fellowship Hall entrance in the back
1100 N. Ferncreek Avenue, Orlando, FL 32803

2nd Thursday @ 10:30 A.M. Bereavement Support Group 
For Caregivers who have lost a loved one.  Please Pre-register with Elizabeth Bosserman at 407-843-1910, Ext. 310. Reeves United Methodist Church (use the Fellowship Hall entrance in the back) 1100 N. Ferncreek Avenue, Orlando, FL 32803

2nd Thursday @ 6:00 P.M. Arden Courts Support Group
1057 Willa Springs Drive, Winter Springs, FL 32708

2nd Friday @ 12:00 P.M. Osceola Council on Aging at the Senior Center
(Bring your own brown bag lunch) 700 Generation Pointe, Kissimmee, FL 34744

3rd Thursday @ 12:00 P.M. Coping as Couples™ Support Group
(RSVP for lunch at 407-843-1910 x301 with Cindi)
Caregiver & patient open and willing to share their challenges dealing with dementia.  
New attendees must pre-register with Martha Purdy at 407-843-1910 x308 
Arden Courts; 1057 Willa Springs Drive, Winter Springs, FL 32708

3rd Thursday @ 6:30 P.M. Emeritus at Ocoee Support Group
80 N. Clarke Road, Ocoee, FL 34761

4th Monday @ 6:30 P.M. Horizon Bay at Lake Orienta Support Group
217 Boston Avenue, Altamonte Springs, FL 32701

4th Tuesday @ 2:00 P.M. Serenades by Sonata Memory Care
425 S. Ronald Reagan Blvd. Longwood, FL 32750

4th Tuesday @ 6:30 P.M. Golden Pond Communities
400 Lakeview Road, Winter Garden, FL 34787

Last Sunday @ 4:00 P.M. Empowered Caregiver Network (ECN) provide free monthly virtual support group (phone based) for Caregivers that can not attend their local support group due to being housebound. 

Please note, if you are not in Florida, we can still find a Support Group in your State.  Please feel free to contact us for additional information.  We are here to support you!

1506 Lake Highland Drive • Orlando, FL 32803 
(407) 843-1910 • (800) 330-1910 •

What is Alzheimer's?

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia, a group of symptoms making disorders that impairs one's mental functioning.  People with AD experience difficulty communicating, learning, thinking and reasoning and may ultimately be unable to take part in most or all actives of daily living including dressing, bathing, eating, and walking.

Currently, 5 million Americans suffer from this incurable disease and that number is expected to reach 25 million by year 2050.  It is also estimated that approximately 9 million individuals, or about 20% of the population, care for a loved one with Alzheimer's or a related form of dementia at least on a part-time basis.  Two thirds of these caregivers also work outside the home.

The Alzheimer's & Dementia Resource Center, Inc. focuses on the often forgotten victim of Alzheimer's disease - the caregiver.

From the beginning of the caregiver's journey to the end, our goal is to provide compassionate and caring support services.


ADRC is hosting a Smart Aging Health Fair!  You are invited and bring your friends.

FREE admission
FREE parking

Friday, March 2, 2012
10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Maitland Civic Center
641 S. Maitland Avenue
Maitland, FL 32751

Let's get smart about our health!

Visit with over 30 professional agencies
Learn about area health programs
Take advantage of health screenings
Lunch is provided by United Legacy Bank

For more information call Leslie Koonce at 407-843-1910 x305
Don't forget to mark your calendar!


We opened our new Satellite Office today at One Senior Place!  Please mark you calendar's for the Official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on Wednesday, February 23, 2012 at 10:00 am.

One Senior Place
715 Douglas Avenue
Altamonte Springs, FL 32714

One Senior Place is a one-stop shop for senior resources and information and ADRC is excited to be a part of it!  Hours of operation will be Monday - Friday from 8:30 am - 5:00 pm.

Come see what all the excitement is about!  You'll be able to see first hand what One Senior Place is all about.  Hope to you see there.

For more information, please call Leslie Koonce at 407-843-1910 x305.

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Caregiver’s Story: from rage to relief

After experiencing one of the most emotionally distressing times in our life, my wife mentioned recently that she can’t even imagine the stress I was under. She had been diagnosed with mesothelioma just three months after the birth of our first child, Lily. I haven’t gone in depth with my own personal experiences during that time. Now I am ready to share.

Heather and I were riding that euphoric high that comes after the birth of a child. That joy was short-lived. I recall feeling completely uprooted and disconnected from my own reality with that sudden shift of emotions that came as I stood in the room as the doctors gave my wife and the mesothelioma diagnosis. My wife sat in her street clothes with tears streaming down her face. I felt completely unprepared and overwhelmed by the uncertainty of her future and of our future. The doctor immediately started talking about medical decisions we had to make. As the months progressed, I never really felt ready to make any of the decisions we were forced to make. Somehow these decisions forced us to stay grounded in reality.

During those first few weeks after the diagnosis, I was a ball of emotions. I struggled internally with my own fears and even outright rage over this unexpected turn of events. I tried to hide my feelings from my wife, as I attempted to be the strong foundation I knew she desperately needed. Yet when I was comforted, consoled or encouraged from family, friends, and doctors or nurses, I just let it all out. Several times, I unloaded a stream of profanities at those who were only trying to help, which added guilt to the emotions I was feeling.
In addition to these emotions were the physical responsibilities. As a parent with an infant and a full-time job, I had plenty on my plate already. Then we had doctor appointments, my own medical research, travel arrangements and more. I have never been one to accept help from others, but I accepted it now. I had no other choice. Thankfully, offers for help were plentiful.
Perhaps the darkest point for me during this time was after my wife’s surgery. I had to leave her in Boston to recover from surgery with her parents, and my in-laws kept our baby daughter with them, too. She was coping with chemo and radiation treatments, and I was alone, home in Minnesota, working. Our bills were mounting, and I had no choice but to keep working so we could continue. I worked so much trying to keep us afloat financially that I only had time to visit her once over XX months. This visit included an 11-hour drive in a snowstorm that afforded me only about 24 hours to be with my wife and daughter. I felt so alone during this time and wanted nothing more than to be with them.
As difficult as that time was, I tried to stay grounded in the reality of doing what needed to be done. It’s always easier to look at life in the rear view mirror. Looking back, I do wish we hadn’t gotten that diagnosis, but I don’t regret any of the subsequent decisions we made. This was a time of change and growth for me personally, as I learned to accept what cannot change as well as to accept help from others. I found comfort in making choices that would affect our future.
Today, my gratitude for the experience is exceeded only by the gratitude that my wife is now mesothelioma-freeTo read more about our journey and/or follow Heather's blog. 
Written by Cameron Von St. James, Caregiver

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Founder of The Empowered Caregiver Network

I have the honor to serve as primary caregiver for my wife, Susan, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1980.
The first 12 years after Sue’s diagnosis sailed along smoothly. Both of us were largely able to ignore the disease, with the rare exception of a week or two here and there when she would experience a flare-up. Only in 1992 did I truly make the conscious choice to become (and to remain) a caregiver. That’s when MS began to affect Sue in ways that, frankly, I never associated with MS. At that time, neither did most of the medical community. These effects include memory loss, difficulty finding words, and a loss of multitasking abilities and mental processing speed.
My choice in 1992 to become a caregiver was the easiest decision I ever made. It also proved to be the most difficult in the years that followed until I became an Empowered Caregiver. By my estimate, even though I’ve been a caregiver for 20 years, I have another 30 years or more to go, God willing. So, even though I’m a far better caregiver today than I was as a rookie, I had better keep learning from others. And perhaps I can teach others something, too.
To make that possible, I've created my own blog on caregiving, The Empowered Caregiver Network. To help others and myself further, we hold "virtual support groups" monthly. All that any caregiver needs to join us for support is a telephone and an hour. We meet the last Sunday of every month by phone.  You'll find the details here.

Written by Jay Kraker, Caregiver

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