Speakers Bureau & In-Service Education

In addition to our Aging Care Academy courses, our faculty is available for hire to speak to your group or organization, or for inservice education to staffs. Contact us for information on speaker fees and arrangements. Some of our most popular topics are described below.

 

Myths about Memory Loss

Does aspartame cause Alzheimer’s? How about aluminum pots and pans? Can doing crossword puzzles prevent it? Is it a normal part of aging?  As awareness about memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease increases, more myths and partial-truths have confused the public than ever before.  Find out what we really know about the aging brain and Alzheimer’s, and current research theories on causes and treatments for this devastating disease.

 

Strategies for Maintaining a Healthy Memory

No one can remember each little detail of every experience in her lifetime. Our brains are actually designed to forget!  But what level of forgetfulness is normal, and are there ways to maximize brain function?  This workshop will provide practical strategies to keep memory sharp, as well as to recognize problems that hinder memory function. Presented with humor and essential self-care tips, participants will gain fundamental information for maintaining a healthy memory.

 

Stages of Memory Disorders

This workshop reviews the stages of cognitive, behavioral and functional change associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. The Brief Cognitive Rating Scale (BCRS), the Functional Assessment Staging Tool (FAST) and the Global Deterioration Scale (GDS) were developed by Dr. Barry Reisberg and colleagues at NYU.  These measures provide some of the best insight when anticipating needs. With this knowledge, carers can help individuals with dementia remain as independent as possible within their stage.

 

Crash Course in Alzheimer’s

Originally developed for private-duty carers, this seminar provides basic information about Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. The content focuses on simplified information about brain changes and typical symptoms people experience such as short term memory loss, sundowning, and functional loss. Managing behaviors and the importance of activities is emphasized, along with coping with stress, and how to communicate changes.

 

Be a Healthy Caregiver

In this workshop, participants learn about the signs of caregiver stress, how to cope with emotions such as guilt and resentment, and the Caregiver Bill of Rights. Adapting relationships in caregiving is reviewed to support caregivers who struggle with new responsibilities. Supportive services and care options are explored.

 

Holiday Survival Tips

A once-treasured time of year, the holidays can present challenges for caregivers of people with a chronic illness. This seminar reviews some tried and true strategies that other caregivers have developed to cope with changes and emotions. Participants find renewed joy in family gatherings and holiday traditions.

 

Communication Strategies that Work!

Do you feel frustration when a loved one asks you the same question over and over? Does “she’s doing this on purpose” ever run through your mind? This workshop explores how communication abilities change, as well as techniques to improve interaction with persons with dementia. You can enhance your personal relationship with these simple steps to improve communication.

 

Successful Management of Challenging Behaviors

Since behavior modification usually does not work when someone has dementia, managing behaviors is especially challenging. Finding the meaning of the behavior is an essential concept.  No matter the care setting, the model presented in this workshop will guide you to minimize behavior problems and encourage positive interactions.

 

Reality Orientation vs. Validation Approaches

“Mrs. Smith, I don’t think your parents are alive since you are 97 years old!”  We used to teach carers to use reality orientation, but found that these sorts of statements left confused people in tears, traumatized or less trusting of their carers.  Validation approaches help carers identify the underlying emotion by stepping away from a logic perspective, to enter the world of the person with dementia. Simple strategies help carers enhance self-esteem and build trust, while helping a confused person feel more comfortable and safe.

 

Humor as a Coping Strategy

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a downcast spirit dries up the bones.” (Prov. 17:22).  The effects of caregiver stress and burnout are well documented. It is also well known that humor is an effective coping strategy and can actually improve emotional and physiological health. Many people dealing with Alzheimer’s disease are concerned that humor may not be appropriate, or might be harmful to individuals with dementia or their stressed out caregivers. This presentation will address how and why it is essential for Alzheimer’s caregivers to develop a lighthearted perspective and how they can integrate humor into their lives.

** This workshop has been adapted to multiple settings and audiences, including non-Alzheimer’s, non-health-care related.

 

Issues of Sexual Expression in Elder Care

Issues of intimacy and sexuality are normal even after age 65. Many older adults remain sexually active, or at least sexually interested, even if they are using long-term care services. Whether clients attend adult day care, have a home health care worker or live in a nursing home individuals have the right to privacy, dignity and freedom of expression, including sexual. Reactions of health care staff members range from shock to acceptance as a natural occurrence. The topic is more complex when dealing with dementia populations. The interpretations of laws range from resident’s rights to sexual abuse.

This presentation will address these sensitive issues that are not usually covered in traditional curricula.

**This workshop has been adapted to multiple audiences, including professionals dealing with intimacy issues in dementia care, and for a non-health care audience, for seniors (“More than Friends”), etc.

 

The Continuum of Care: Options for Older Adults in Connecticut

As the cohort of “elderly” changes, the needs for care settings have also seen incredible change.  In past decades, older adults had few options if they needed care: nursing home or home care (if it was available in their area). This workshop reviews care options for older adults in Connecticut, including regional availability, funding sources, and how to determine what care is needed.