Friday, April 03, 2020

Your loved one with dementia needs you and sometimes that means you can’t leave that person alone. But you need help, too. The Kaplan JCC on the Palisades is offering a virtual three-session course on dementia caregiver training that caregivers can access with Zoom from their home devices. The classes will take place on Tuesdays: March 17, March 24 and March 31, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Cost is $25. Membership in the JCC is not required. Judi Nahary, director of the senior adult department, said the virtual series will reach into people’s home so it doesn’t affect daily life and make it more challenging. Unlike a webinar, a virtual class is interactive. The JCC will send everyone who registers a link with start time. Once the program starts, all members of the group can see each other.

“Caregivers will learn to understand the behaviors caused by dementia and techniques on how to deal with them,” said Nahary. “We’ll have an attorney who specializes in elder care, a financial planner and gerontologist. I will explain how to set up a home safely, offer suggestions on how to communicate and talk about community resources.”

Nahary said the virtual classes will be of great benefit to families with someone who is newly diagnosed with dementia, and a good head start for families who have a loved one diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s.

“The education is universal and applicable to all age groups,” said Nahary. “Early-onset Alzheimer’s is particularly challenging as the decline is faster and problems are more significant. Most aren’t of retirement age yet and the caregiver may also have to stop working. The house has to be set up in a certain way.”

Nahary is hoping that participants will be able to come to the JCC for one important activity: a hands-on virtual tour of dementia. Participants are given a list of five different tasks that will make them feel the challenges of living with dementia. They will wear glasses that mask vision, have fingers taped into thick gloves to demonstrate impaired motor skills, have popcorn kernels in their shoes, to simulate how dementia patients feel when they walk and noise cancellation headphones that limit hearing. Nahary said they will try to find one common time for the visit that will be convenient for interested participants.

To register for the virtual family dementia caregiver training, call 201-408-1450 or register online at www.jccotp.org.

By Bracha Schwartz