There are more than 15 million Alzheimer’s caregivers across the country, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. While many are trained professionals, others are family members trying to care for loved ones stricken with one of the leading causes of death in the United States.
Professionals and family caregivers alike will be able to get additional training at a daylong seminar about Alzheimer’s and dementia at The Springs at Whitefish on Jan. 21. Jennifer Crowley of Eagleview West Life Care Planning is organizing the event.
Crowley became a certified dementia practitioner through the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners in 2016. Seminars like the Jan. 21 event are a requirement to become a certified practitioner. She said the training would also benefit members of other professions such as law enforcement.
“There is a need for this type of education across the board,” Crowley said.
The seminar focuses on various aspects of Alzheimer’s and dementia-related diseases, including dealing with depression, communication, aggressive behaviors and family support.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 5 million Americans are living with the disease, and as many as 16 million will be diagnosed with it by 2050. In Montana, more than 19,000 people aged 65 and above have Alzheimer’s, and that number is expected to increase by 42 percent to 27,000 people within the next 10 years.
Crowley called the increase of people with Alzheimer’s in Montana a “looming crisis.” She said it’s especially hard because people with dementia-related diseases often need extensive care and observation. After time, some people with the disease cannot be left alone. Despite the growing need, Crowley said there are few resources available for caretakers.
In 2014, a state workgroup gathered to examine how Montana could deal with the coming crisis. The result was a state plan released last month that has been endorsed by Gov. Steve Bullock. The plan calls for establishing guidelines for caring for people with Alzheimer’s and giving support to caregivers, many of whom are unpaid.
Crowley said training sessions like the upcoming one in Whitefish are an important part of implementing the state plan.
The Jan. 21 seminar will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and costs $150, which includes the class, a workbook and lunch. For more information or to register, call Jennifer Crowley at (406) 752-5821 or email her at Jennifer@eagleviewwest.com.