Free Conference for Alzheimer’s Professionals Returns to Cape Cod

HYANNIS – The Alzheimer’s Family Support Center will host its second annual John Levin Memorial Conference for dementia professionals and caregivers Wednesday in Hyannis.

The free conference at Barnstable Performing Arts Center from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. will provide nearly a quarter million dollars of free training for the Cape Cod community.

The event is headlined by nationally renowned dementia specialist Teepa Snow.

The Center’s Cultural Director Melanie Braverman said Snow is the rock star of the Alzheimer’s training world.

“She’s not only an incredibly smart person around Alzheimer’s and dementia behaviors, but she is also an actor, so she brings this really animated force to the trainings we’re offering,” Braverman said.

“A Positive Approach to Dementia Care” will cover several topics, including building a dementia friendly community, creating a safe and friendly environment and how it affects behaviors and abilities, communicating with individuals who have dementia, and coping with challenging behaviors in dementia care.

“We’re offering Continuing Education Credits this year for first responders, for mental health professionals, licensed social workers, RNs and activity directors,” Braverman said.

Braverman said providing the training free of charge is important for the workers who are on the front lines.

“The people who are the boots on the ground, people who are do the lion’s share, the heavy lifting around this care in any kind of facility are often the CNAs, or Certified Nursing Assistants, and they are often the lowest paid people on the totem pole,” she said.

The training programs usually cost between $150 and $200 and workers have to take a day off of work.

“We feel like we want the Cape to have the best trained workforce it possible can, and we want to keep young people in the workforce here,” Braverman said. “God knows, we are going to need them more and more as time goes on.”

Braverman said the goal is to get at least one or two people dementia trained at all facilities across the Cape.

“We know that we’ll be one step closer to making sure that when someone is wandering somebody knows what to do,” she said.

The Alzheimer’s Family Support Center provides a wide range of services for families and individuals who are navigating Alzheimer’s and all other forms of dementia disease on Cape Cod. All the services are also provided free of charge.

About Brian Merchant

Brian Merchant grew up in Central Massachusetts and now lives in South Dennis on the Cape. He has been part of the news team in the NewsCenter since the spring of 2014. He studied radio broadcasting at the University of Tennessee.
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