Caregiver boot camps provide much needed training for family support

It’s no surprise that a dementia or Alzheimer’s diagnosis taxes the patience and energy of family caregivers.

Part of the reason is that, for most caregivers, it’s a role they’ve been pressed into. Other than parenting, most have no experience. So every day becomes a challenge as they go through the most stressful kind of “on-the-job” training you can imagine.

With that in mind, granting organization Archstone funded a daylong ‘caregiver boot camp’, during which 25 participants are taught stress management techniques, how to handle difficult patients and how to keep dementia and Alzheimer’s sufferers engaged in activities from card games to crossword puzzles.

In a piece I read about the unique caregiver session, its’ creator Zaldy Tan, medical director of the UCLA Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Program said, “People with Alzheimer’s with stressed caregivers have been shown to have poor outcomes.”

It’s not a surprise to me. I have clients who are pitching in to help their parents and feeling the strain.

Currently, UCLA is hosting four boot camps annually around Southern California and is looking to expand based on demand. Unsurprisingly, similar programs have sprung up in New Jersey, Florida and Virginia.

Here’s hoping this much-needed program trickles its way across all 50 states including Illinois.

The unfortunate dovetailing of aging baby boomers and the rise of Alzheimer’s disease is going to require more attention, training and resources for families as care needs increase.

If you’re worried about how your situation will one day affect your loved ones, please contact us. With some careful planning, we can do our best to ensure that you have proper care in place to lessen the strain and preserve your dignity.