Personal Reflections from the President & CEO

Danielle N. Hartman, MNM
President & CEO

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Caregiver Month. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are more than 15 million Alzheimer's and dementia caregivers in the United States.

Alzheimer’s Disease is the 6th leading cause of death in Unites States killing more people each year than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. The disease is like no other as Alzheimer’s is the only disease in the ‘top 10’ that cannot be prevented, cured, or slowed. Between 2000 and 2013, while deaths from other diseases decreased, those from Alzheimer’s increased 71%.

Caregiver programs are in great demand as the risk for caregiver burnout is greatest among those caring for an individual with memory loss due to the persistent risk factors involved in the disease. These Caregivers express the highest rate of physical, financial, and emotional strain.

Through a grant from the Palm Healthcare Foundation, JFS was able to institute our Caregiver Resources & Respite Program. JFS was recently awarded a grant from our local Area Agency on Aging funded through the Older Americans Act which will enable us to continue the program for at least the next three years and possibly six years.

The Program aims to teach the Caregiver:

• Strategies to cope with troubling behaviors

• Ways to reduce feelings of caregiver burden and helplessness

• Effective stress management techniques

• How to increase self-care

• Tools to reduce depression

Caregiver Resources & Respite takes place at the Weisman Delray Community Center, Fridays from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. During this time, respite care is provided for the loved one allowing the Caregiver to attend a one hour workshop and take care of their personal needs. The Alzheimer’s Café is enjoyed during the last hour of respite which enables Caregivers and their loved ones to enjoy refreshments, socialization, and support, in a relaxed, non-judgmental, environment.

The Caregiver Resources & Respite program is making an impact on the lives of its participants. One client shared that the program is “very helpful in learning about and dealing with my loved one’s memory problems.” Another client stated “Each class I leave with a positive feeling from the info I have learned and knowing that I am not alone. This program is a must, as we all need education. I would be lost without it.”

For additional information about the Caregiver Resources and Respite, contact Program Director, Naomi Shapiro, MSW at 561-852-3333 or naomis@ralesjfs.org.

B'Shalom

Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County
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