Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Alzheimer’s Caregivers can keep loved one out of nursing home for extra year and a half with simple training

Here’s the opening sentence to a new report that sheds exciting light on help for individuals caring for people with Alzheimer’s or memory loss:
The findings are stunning: Offering simple training to people struggling to care for loved ones with Alzheimer's disease not only eases their burden ---- it even can keep patients out of nursing homes for an extra 1.5 years. (Source)
The challenges in implementing what seems to be a simple solution to save families thousands of dollars in nursing home expenses is a common one for all caregivers: time and access.

For family caregivers, having enough time to attend training classes, let alone support groups, often means making complex arrangements to get someone else to stay with their loved one or find somewhere to leave the person with the memory loss.

Attending classes is challenging, too. Many are not available in rural areas; travel and expenses make traditional classes simply out of reach for many families.

But for family caregivers, technology offers exciting new solutions. The internet offers a wealth of resources and information on nearly every disease.

Internet based caregiver training can provide exactly what the caregiver needs to learn, when it’s needed. It can be accessed from the comfort of home, too, helping families avoid the need to travel to classes or fit them into a busy schedule, not to mention finding a caregiver for their loved one while they’re away.

Are behaviors a challenge? Find out how to prevent behaviors from happening, or how to appropriately respond when they do happen.

Is your loved one losing weight or having difficulty eating? Is showering a constant struggle? Going to the doctor mission: impossible?

One of the major benefits of taking online classes is that learning can be on-demand. That means that the caregiver can access the training they need at the time they need it. It eliminates the experience of attending a series of classes and then finding yourself, months from now, thinking, “I know they covered that in the class, but I can’t remember exactly what they said to do…”

Caregivers across the nation are finding the internet a tool to get support, too. Email or internet forums can become a tool for beginning conversations, getting custom tips and advice, and, in general, feeling less alone in the caregiving challenges.

Many websites offer information; many forums allow caregivers to share their experiences and support other caregivers.

Some, like Caring forMom, offers online training and support, all in one location.

For caregivers of people with memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease – for all caregivers, actually – technology today offers much more than peace of mind. It can offer real savings in terms of money that would be spent on facility care. It can also offer families the chance to do what they really want to do: keep their loved one at home and continue to provide the care needed.

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