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CaregivingMetroWest.org
is a national award-winning website devoted to family caregivers of elders. The interactive site provides easy access to the comprehensive information, local resources and support you need. 
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In the Community
YWCA offering Couples Teamwork workshop to care for a chronic illness  YWCA Central Massachusetts, in partnership with Fallon Health and Summit Eldercare, is offering "Couples Teamwork," a seven-week workshop series for couples dealing with chronic illness.

Throughout the program, the person with a chronic illness and the caregiver participate together, using teamwork to shape a strong, well-planned, positive and meaningful future, with a focus on the needs of both.

Experts will help couples develop a plan and acquire tools and resources for building strong lives through financial planning, legal planning, a healthy lifestyle and home planning.

The program will comprise of weekly sessions from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturdays, beginning on March 3 and ending on April 14 at YWCA Central Massachusetts (1 Salem Square, Worcester, MA 01608).


Pleasantries hosting dementia training seminar in Marlborough 
Pleasantries Adult Day and Consulting Services is offering Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia Care Seminars for professionals interested in becoming certified dementia practitioners.

The seminar will be offered in Marlborough on Friday, March 16 at Pleasantries Adult Day Services (195 Reservoir Street, Marlborough, MA 01752).

The seminar starts with a continental breakfast and registration at 7:30 a.m., with the seminar going from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Lunch will be provided. Please contact Tammy Pozerycki, MA, CADDCT, CDP, at 508-335-1968 for more information.
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Caregiving MetroWest serves the following communities:

Ashland, Bellingham, Dover, Framingham, Franklin, Holliston, Hopedale, Hopkinton, Hudson, Marlborough, Medfield, Medway, Mendon, Milford, Millis, Natick, Needham, Norfolk, Northborough, Sherborn, Southborough, Sudbury, Wayland, Wellesley, Westborough

Memory Café Reminder
Upcoming and ongoing memory cafés for MetroWest caregivers 
There are now a number of memory caf és offered in the MetroWest area. These cafes offer an opportunity for people caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's or another dementia a chance to get some needed relief while still spending time with their loved one and other caregivers in a relaxed and welcoming setting.
 
Here is a listing of some of the ongoing memory cafes in our area:

Create A Better Day Café
- Fourth Sunday of each month from 1-3 p.m. at Pleasantries Adult Day and Consulting Services (195 Reservoir Road, Marlborough, MA). Call
Tammy Pozerycki at 508-481-0809 for more information.
 
Comfort Food Caring Café - Fourth Monday of each month from 12-2 p.m. at the Sudbury Senior Center (40 Fairbank Road, Sudbury, MA). Call Anne Manning at 978-443-3055 to RSVP.

A Brighter Day Brunch Café - Third Sunday of each month from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. at Heritage at Framingham (747 Water Street, Framingham, MA). To RSVP, call 508-875-3100 x400.

Apple Cafe - First Wednesday of the month from 2-4 p.m. at Northborough Free Library (34 Main Street, Northborough, MA). Call Carol Marie DeRienzo at 774-285-2456 or email carol@solacern.com.

Tapestry Cafe - Third Wednesday of the month from 10-11:30 a.m. at Whitney Place (3 Vision Drive, Natick, MA. Call Ellen Koswick at 508-655-3344 x3952.

Needham Memory Cafe - Second Wednesday of the month from 1-2 p.m. at Treat Cupcake Bar (1450 Highland Ave., Needham, MA). Call 781-444-2266. 
 
Time Out Cafe - Third Sunday every other month from 1-3 p.m., starting in January at Welly's Restaurant (153 Main Street, Marlborough, MA). Contact Trish Pope at 508-485-6492.
 
For a complete listing of the memory cafés serving MetroWest caregivers and their loved ones, check out our new Memory Cafes page.
February, 2018
Recognizing the Early Signs of Dementia
Latest Q&A provides insight to on recognizing the early signs of Alzheimer's in a loved one 
In our Caregiving Chronicles Q&A series, we cover some of the pressing issues and concerns that caregivers may face in caring for a loved one in a variety of circumstances and with a wide range of health conditions. 
 
In our latest Q&A, the Caregiving Chroncles blog discusses ways to recognize the early signs of Alzheimer's or another dementia, how to differentiate those signs from the normal aging process and what to do when a loved starts to show such signs. Providing insight is Juanita Allen Kingsley of the Natick VNA. 
 
Check out the entire post for more information and links to further help and information about the early signs of dementia. And feel free to check out the blog's archive for past Q&As and all of our informative posts.


Appreciating African-American Caregivers
Black History Month provides chance to highlight the contributions of African-American caregivers 
February is Black History Month. Here at Caregiving MetroWest, we'd like to take the time to recognize the African-Americans who provide so much care and comfort for their loved ones.

Statistically, African-Americans are more likely to serve as family caregivers, spend more hours caregiving and devote a higher percentage of their earnings toward that care than other Americans. While all family caregivers are in need of and deserve better support and assistance, the needs of African-American caregivers are particularly acute and the devotion they show toward their loved ones in the face of these challenges deserves special appreciation.

"Many people will spend more of their time and resources caring for their aging parents than they did raising their own children," said AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins in the announcement of a campaign of public service announcements targeting underserved African-American caregivers by her organization and the Ad Council last year. 

"African-American caregivers are disproportionately affected as most are much younger than their white counterparts and often leave the workforce to provide care on a full-time basis. These new PSAs will help create greater awareness for caregivers who tackle tough issues every day, and provide information on the many resources that are available to help them meet their needs and those of their loved ones."

African-American caregivers experience higher burdens from caregiving and spend more time caregiving on average than their white peers, with 57 percent of African-American caregivers meeting the standard of "high-burden" and average spending 30 hours per week caring for their loved one. That's compared to 33 percent of white caregivers, who average 20 hours per week, according to the Alzheimer's Association's 2015 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures.

African-American caregivers also tend to be younger (42.7 years old) than white caregivers (52.5 years old), according to the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP's 2015 Caregiving in the U.S. survey.  

That survey also noted that more than half of African-American caregivers find themselves "sandwiched" between caring for an older person and a younger person under age 18, or caring for more than one older person and 66 percent of African-American caregivers are employed full or part-time. African-American caregivers (41%) are more likely to provide help with more than three Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) than white caregivers (28%).

Additionally, African-American caregivers face unique challenges. According to a recent AARP study, while African-American caregivers spend similar amounts as white caregivers, their financial burden is higher due to lower average household incomes. African-American caregivers devote more than 34 percent of their annual income to expenses associated with providing care, compared with 14 percent for white caregivers. The majority of African-American caregivers provide all or most of the care themselves, without the assistance of paid help.

African-Americans are also more likely to be in need of care as they age. "Serving African American Families: Home and Community Based Services for People with Dementia and their Caregivers," a recent policy paper by the Alzheimer's Association and funded by the U.S. Administration on Aging, noted:

"Alzheimer's disease has been identified as an emerging public health crisis among African-American communities. This silent epidemic of Alzheimer's has slowly invaded the African American community and will continue to grow as numbers of African American baby boomers enter the age of risk."


Check out this recent entry on our Caregiving Chronicles blog for more on the issues African-American caregivers face. 
Alicia's Tip of the Month
Focus on what your loved one CAN do, not what they CANNOT do 
I often speak with Alzheimer's or Dementia caregivers about trying to focus on what the remaining strengths and abilities are of their loved one rather than the loss and what they CANNOT do anymore.

This is not an easy concept, of course, as usually we have known this person for a big part of our lives and are seeing great loss in them. But changing this view and focus can really help you, as the caregiver, enjoy more of your loved one and also help their quality of life. 

Last month in Alzheimer's and Dementia Weekly online I saw a link to a very interesting article titled: " Antipsychotics Drop 20 Percent If Focus is on What Dementia Residents CAN Do." This new study led by  Jennifer Tjia, MD, MSCE, Associate Professor of Quantitative Health Sciences, shows how medication is used less often when we change our focus from what the person cannot do to what the person can do. 

The article says, "This intervention focused on treating the residents as human beings with needs, not as patients with problems. ...

"The Oasis program asks nursing staff to create   care plans  that include what residents can do, shifting away from the model that focuses on what they can't do."

Read through the   whole article, it's well worth the time. And also try this at home with your own loved one!
 

(BayPath Caregiver Specialist Alicia Rego offers advice and affirmations with her monthly tip in our newsletter. Check out all of Alicia's tips, thoughts and insights for family caregivers on The Wellness Wall or contact her directly for caregiver support at 508-573-7239 or arego@baypath.org.)  
Memory Care Day Program in Milford
Blaire House Adult Day Health Center expands capacity for clients with memory impairment 
Blaire House of Milford Adult Day Health Center celebrated the opening of their newly constructed Memory Care Day Program on February 13 with an Open House for community referral sources. The new program is licensed for 55 clients who have some form of memory impairment.

Blaire House opened its first memory care Adult Day Health Program in 2000, which could hold 22 clients per day. With the opening of the new program Blaire House can now care for many more clients per day.
 
The specialized program offers programs and activities geared to clients with Alzheimer's and other dementias.
 
"We are so proud of the new addition," said Adult Day Health Director Maureen Gulino. "We are doubling the amount of clients we can service. We have added more outdoor space which includes a deck overlooking Milford and a garden area. The hair salon will be completed soon. Our program goal is to not only care for the person with memory loss but to also give their caregiver respite from the difficult job of caring for their loved one."
 
Blaire House of Milford is a family-owned Senior Living Community that offers and array of services: Nursing and Rehabilitation, Assisted Living Residence, Adult Day Health, Respite, Hospice, Home Care and Senior Transportation Services.
Celebrating Black History Month
Caregiving MetroWest salutes the many contributions African-Americans have made throughout our nation's history, including the work of the millions of devoted African-American family caregivers. Above is a look at the National Museum of African-American History and Culture on the National Mall  in Washington, D.C., which opened in 2016.
Thank you for taking the time to look through our newsletter, and please check out our website, CaregivingMetroWest.org. Have information about a resource that would be useful to MetroWest caregivers? Any other thoughts or feedback on the site? Let us know

Sincerely,

Douglas Flynn
Caregiving MetroWest Program Manager
BayPath Elder Services, Inc.

Winner of a National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a)
Aging Innovations Award, placing second nationally in 2016.