Human resources

The “Living with Dementia” series offers practical strategies, support and resources for partners in care

The Care-Friendly Care Initiative, PA of Penn State Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing, will host a four-part “Living with Dementia” series in Bellefonte, Mifflintown and Hershey beginning in August.

Providing care and support to a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias can often be a difficult and isolating experience. A new educational series launching this fall as part of the Care-Friendly Care initiative at Penn State Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing, PA will offer practical tools, actionable guidance and community resources to care partners on their journey of care.

The four-part ‘Living with Dementia’ series will take place in person on Tuesdays and Wednesdays starting in August at three convenient locations: Hershey, Mifflintown and Bellefonte.

Attendees can expect an engaging format and an open learning environment with helpful lessons from each session and plenty of time to ask questions. The series aims to increase understanding of dementia and its effects, sharpen people’s care skills, provide ways to develop more effective communication skills and proactively manage difficult situations, and more. Again. The general topics of the session are:

Session 1: Understanding Dementia-Related Brain Changes (August 30/31)

Session 2: Understanding behaviors as a form of communication (September 20/21)

Session 3: Resources for caregivers with dementia (Oct. 25/26)

Session 4: Planning for the future with dementia (15/16 Nov)

Primary caregivers and anyone interested in learning more about or providing support for someone affected by Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias are encouraged to attend. All events are free and open to the public.

Collaborating on the series with Age-Friendly Care, PA (AFCPA) is Nese College of Nursing’s Tressa Nese and Helen Diskevich Center of Geriatric Excellence (CGNE) in partnership with Penn State College of Medicine, Division of Geriatric Medicine.

The educational sessions will be led by Dr. Rollin M. Wright, MPH, MS, associate professor of medicine at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and expert in dementia care at AFCPA; Peg Chabala, Dementia Education Specialist; and Janice Whitaker, M.Ed., BSN, RN, certified dementia practitioner, geriatric nurse and administrator with CGNE and member of the AFCPA.

A special occasion during the series will be an optional “Memory Café”, where participants’ care partners can bring their loved one with dementia to enjoy activities in a safe and supervised environment while they separately attend the educational sessions.

The café will feature “Opening Minds Through Art” (OMA), an evidence-based intergenerational art program offered specifically to people living with dementia. OMA pairs trained volunteers with each participant to create fail-safe artwork while providing opportunities for social engagement and creative expression. Undergraduate nursing students from Nese College of Nursing will be part of the on-site volunteer staff as part of this unique offering, which will help them prepare for work in clinical settings where people with dementia are cared for, such as acute care, nursing homes, and other settings.

“We designed this multi-faceted program to provide a unique opportunity for members of our core PA communities,” Whitaker explained. “The educational sessions will be presented by educators specializing in the care of people with dementia who use dynamic educational strategies to increase participants’ abilities to care for people with dementia. »

“The Memory Café option provides a respite opportunity that allows caregivers who otherwise would not be able to attend the training sessions,” she added. “The cafes will also provide a safe and enjoyable intergenerational experience for people with dementia.

More information and registration details are available at Age-Friendly Care, PA. Advance registration is required for the educational sessions and the Memory Café, as space is limited.

Age-Friendly Care, PA is a collaboration between the Nese College of Nursing and the Primary Health Network (PHN). The initiative is disseminating the 4Ms of age-friendly health systems – an evidence-based framework for advancing best practice in care for older adults that includes four essential elements of high-quality care: “what matters, drugs, mind and mobility”.

The work of the AFCPA is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of the Geriatric Workforce Improvement Program of a total amount of $750,000 with 0 percent funded by non-governmental sources. The “Living with Dementia” series is also made possible through support from the Endowment for Tressa Nese and Helen Diskevich Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence and the generosity of the Harry Albertman Geriatrics Endowment at Penn State College of Medicine.