When a person is diagnosed with dementia, it is often family members and friends who assume major caregiving responsibilities. While this support from relatives is invaluable, it’s often their first time in a caregiving role.
The Savvy Caregiver Program provides dementia care training to help ease that learning curve, and it will be available through Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES), starting in October.
Having recently completed training for the program, SCES Savvy Caregiver facilitator Nathaniel Meyer said the focus is on building caregiver confidence through practical teaching about dementia and strategies for managing daily life.
“The Savvy Caregiver Program describes caregiving as ‘an unexpected career,’” said Meyer. “Dementia caregiving presents unique and unexpected challenges. This program helps caregivers develop and integrate knowledge, skills, and supportive practices.”
The 12-hour training program is designed for caregivers with no formal training. The classes are spread out over three to six weeks, focusing on dementia’s impact, as well as the skills needed to care for someone diagnosed with the disease. Meyer said that preparation is important, noting an Emory University study that found Savvy Caregiver to be effective at reducing caregiver stress.
“Caregivers’ wellbeing also improves when they have a better idea what to expect, how to respond to it, and what issues are beyond their control,” said Meyer.
Meyer is a licensed Social Worker with the SCES Adult Family Care program. He’ll facilitate the trainings alongside SCES Board President, Liz Aguilo, who is also a clinical social worker and Executive Director of Paine Senior Services.
The free classes are open to a limited number of participants, allowing the caregivers to work closely with the facilitators.
The training begins in October, with subsidized respite options available to some caregivers. For more information or to register, call SCES at 617-628-2601 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the Administration for Community Living, in collaboration with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs.
Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES) is a private, non-profit agency dedicated to improving the quality of life and maintaining the dignity and independence of older people in Somerville and Cambridge. For more information about SCES, visit eldercare.org or follow SCES on Facebook and Twitter.