Thursday, July 26, 2012
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 www.alzfdn.org. ###