Savvy Caregiver Dementia Training Returns in January

Meet the Savvy Caregiver Instructors: Liz Aguilo (left) is a clinical social worker, Executive Director of Paine Senior Services, and Vice President of the Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES) Board of Directors. Nathaniel Meyer (right) is a licensed Social Worker with the SCES Adult Family Care program.

A free training program that provides family caregivers with skills and knowledge about dementia is returning to Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES) in January.

Registration is now open for the next round of Savvy Caregiver training, which starts Jan.11. The 12-hour program emphasizes practical training that helps family caregivers navigate the many challenges of dementia, explained program co-coordinator Nathaniel Meyer.

“A major focus of the program is that caregiving is often a role that people were not expecting and not prepared for,” said Meyer. “Much of the training is geared toward developing knowledge and working on strategies that will help the caregiver.”

The curriculum includes an overview of dementia and its various stages, along with how its progression can impact daily life. The program is geared toward understanding the early and middle stages of dementia, explained program co-facilitator Liz Aguilo.

“If you don’t understand how dementia works, you’re setting yourself and the person you’re caring for up for frustration,” said Aguilo. “But once you understand what’s happening, you can intervene in a way that sets things up for success.”

The training includes a lecture component, but it also highly interactive, explained Aguilo. She noted written feedback from the last session, where participants said the training and group discussion were very helpful.

“I am much more calm, loving, and understanding than before,” wrote one participant. “The information we were given was top notch, and many of the suggestions were very clear and easily implemented.”

The next session of Savvy Caregiver will meet from 9:30 to 12:30 on Fridays, from Jan. 11 through Feb. 15. The classes are held at the SCES offices, at 61 Medford St. in Somerville.

The classes are open to a limited number of participants, allowing the caregivers to work closely with the facilitators. Subsidized respite options are available to some caregivers.
For more information about Savvy Caregiver or to register call 617-628-2601 or email

Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES) is a non-profit agency that supports the independence and well-being of older people in Somerville and Cambridge. For more information, visit, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or contact the SCES Aging Information Center at 617-628-2601 for free advice and guidance.