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Your Health
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Savvy Caregiver: An Opportunity for Family Caregivers from the Alzheimer’s Association

Most caregivers aren't trained for the job. Tips you need to know

Every 71 seconds someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. In Santa Barbara County, more than 8,000 individuals have Alzheimer’s. These figures alone are quite daunting. Now consider that this disease does not only affect those with the diagnosis, but also the thousands of family caregivers who support the person with dementia in daily life — for years — as the disease slowly progresses. Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia is a difficult task and can become overwhelming at times. The role is ever-changing as each day brings an increasing level of need and new patterns in behavior.

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Family caregivers are the center of the health-care system for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. The role they play enables the person with dementia to maintain an active and fulfilling life for as long as possible. In many cases, family members are assuming the role of caregiver — a role for which they are relatively unprepared and untrained. To empower these family caregivers, the Savvy Caregiver program was developed by the Alzheimer’s Association, California Central Coast Chapter.

We are excited to announce that our Central Coast Chapter has joined with the other four California Alzheimer’s Association chapters to offer this program, free of charge, to caregivers. Savvy Caregiver is partially funded by a grant from the Administration on Aging. In return, participating chapters will be piloting the course and gathering data from attendees to determine the impact this training has on caregivers. This incredible opportunity brings an innovative curriculum to families in great need of support and direction.

Held in two-hour weekly sessions over a six-week period in various communities in Santa Barbara County, this free course provides family caregivers with the knowledge, skills, outlook and resources that will be key in their caregiving journey. It is a simple, practical and effective way to improve caregiving skills and quality of life for the caregiver and their loved one. Class size is limited to 12 attendees, and respite grants are available.

Click here for more information about the Savvy Caregiver program and the Alzheimer’s Association, California Central Coast Chapter, or call Suzanne Hunt at 805.892.4259.

— Peter Wright is development and communications director of the Alzheimer’s Association, California Central Coast Chapter.

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