A Message from the Director: Adapting and Embracing Change

Welcome to 2021! The Caring for the Caregiver team looks forward to continuing to support families living with dementia through our educational and engagement activities. It has been a challenging year as we transitioned all activities to an online environment and were honored to continue to be able to support families in this way. We will continue to be offering virtual events in 2021 but are hopeful that we will also be able to provide in-person events toward the second half of the year.

Our mission from the Caring for the Caregiver program is to focus on:

  • building on your strengths as a family caregiver,
  • increasing your confidence in your caregiving role through education and training for care provision and self-care,
  • providing information and referral to relevant resources to help you in your role, and
  • providing opportunities for social engagement for you and your family member/friend living with dementia.

Programming Updates

Memory Café:  The SA Amigos Memory Café looks forward to continuing online social events in 2021. Thanks to the patience and feedback of our attendees and partners, we have been able to continue offering social engagement opportunities to families living with dementia across the country. With the hope that in-person social events can safely resume sooner than later, we intend to continue offering these online events every month so that families living with dementia are not disconnected from their communities.

If you would like to offer insight to improve these online events or to share activity ideas, please take a moment to complete this short survey created by the Texas Memory Café Network:

[ENGLISH] https://redcap.link/aysxihr7
[ESPANOL] Encuesta de fin de año: https://redcap.link/4u3hkp0c

Caregiver Reassurance Program:  We know that not all family caregivers are interested or able to attend online events. Rather than remaining disconnected from these caregivers, we decided to establish the Caregiver Reassurance Program. Our incredible volunteers have been making phone calls to check-in and learn how we can provide person-specific support to every caregiver in our network. Some caregivers might benefit from referrals to events, services, or programs while others may simply benefit from a monthly reminder that our program is thinking of you and is here if you need us.

If you haven’t received a call but would enjoy a monthly check-in, please send us a message to let us know: [Contact Us Form].

Learning Skills Together: When COVID-19 hit the U.S., Caring for the Caregiver was updating its beloved Skills Workshop. In response to social distancing requirements, we moved the updated version of the program, now called Learning Skills Together, online. Caregivers have responded very positively to this change. Each 4-session Learning Skills Together course includes presentations on complex care topics such as medications management, communication, safe transfers, nutrition, and more, as well as ample opportunities for discussion. We plan to continue to offer the program monthly. Some participants in Learning Skills Together may also be eligible to participate in a research study. To find out more click here.

Essentials of Caregiving Series: We continued to offer the 1.5-hour Essentials of Caregiving series throughout 2020 in a virtual format so that participants could still participate while staying safe and healthy from their homes.  We added a new twist this year by providing a short presentation on various topics followed by a Q& A with a professional, which in turn allowed for a more robust conversation with participants.  We look forward to offering an all-new series this year to ensure you receive the tools to help you access the resources and support to support you in your role.

Daily Study of Caregiving Relationships and Health: This study launched in September 2020 and has thus far recruited 10 of 40 caregivers. The purpose of this study is to help us to better understand how social relationships affect caregivers’ health. Caregivers in this study complete daily surveys and some even provide saliva samples so we can examine hormonal changes. Thank you to all who have participated in this research so far! We look forward to sharing what we learn in the coming year. If you are a spousal caregiver and are interested in joining, please fill out an eligibility form: https://redcap.uthscsa.edu/REDCap/surveys/?s=C4X98H9RKP

Caring for the Caregiver Advisory Committee: Since June 2020, the Caring for the Caregiver Advisory Council has met once per month on Zoom to help guide the research and service missions of the Caring for the Caregiver Program. This group of caregivers and vested professionals have thus far provided insight on technology-based supports for caregivers, access to technology-based services, topics to include in future education sessions, and more! We are grateful to members of the advisory council for their participation!  Click here if you are interested in joining the committee.

We would like to thank you so much for your support and participation in our program throughout 2020. We welcome your feedback about new classes or events that you would like to see added to the program or other changes that would better support you. We are honored to serve you.

With warm regards,

Carole White, PhD, RN,  FAAN


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