To help people navigate this life-altering situation, the Alzheimer’s Regional Resource Center and the Kingsport Kiwanis Club are hosting a one-day caregiver conference later this month.
The conference aims to encourage and educate Alzheimer’s caregivers, many of whom have little or no training and may feel alone in their struggles.
“(At the conference), you’re with people who are going through the same thing you’re going through,” said Sharon Durnin, overseer of the Alzheimer’s Regional Resource Center. “It’s kind of like a big, all-day support group.”
The conference will take place Sept. 25 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with registration beginning at 8 a.m. The event is geared toward family and professional caregivers, and vendors are also invited to come showcase their products.
As in the past, this year’s event will be held in the St. Dominic’s Catholic Church Parish Life Center, located at 2517 N. John B. Dennis Highway in Kingsport. Breakfast, lunch and snacks are included in the registration cost.
“Everybody takes away from it differently every year, because it’s based on what your need is,” Durnin said. “They take away what they need, and it helps them to be better caregivers. That’s the goal.”
“Creating Moments of Joy”
The conference will be led by Jolene Brackey, a nationally known speaker and author of “Creating Moments of Joy.”
Throughout the program, Brackey will share her extensive experience caring for people with Alzheimer’s disease and give participants tips on what does and doesn’t work.
“She teaches us a different way to look at things sometimes,” Durnin said. “So it helps us to create a moment that can bring joy not only to the person that you’re taking care of, the person living with dementia, but also their caregiver.”
Online registration is open now at www.kingsportkiwanis.org. The cost is $50 for family caregivers, $95 for professional caregivers and $100 for vendor tables with one attendee.
As an added incentive, professional caregivers can receive 6.5 Continuing Education Unit (CEU) credits for attending.
Addressing the need
Durnin said all aspects of the conference, from inviting vendors to selecting the speaker, have been planned specifically with caregivers in mind.
“If we just have 25 people, it doesn’t matter; those 25 people need us,” Durnin said. “That’s why they came. That’s why we do it every year.”
For more information, visit www.kingsportkiwanis.org or call (423) 343-4147.