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Rural Caregiver

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Rural Caregiving
By Liza Berger, Staff Writer

(Page 7 of 7)

One of the most notable is Savvy Caregiver, which is in place in 43 counties in Michigan. It is designed to increase caregiver skills and confidence, create reliable and accessible networks of support for caregivers, and increase access to supportive services, according to Skowronski. The program consists of approximately 12 hours of sessions that involve helping caregivers to acknowledge the disease, develop emotional tolerance, and take control. It also provides them with a caregiver manual and educational CD-ROM.

Michigan has Savvy Caregiver trainings in several locations within rural communities convenient for rural caregivers. The program provides respite care (either in-home or out of home) so caregivers can attend Savvy Caregiver. It also offers training DVDs for caregivers who are not able to make it to in-person Savvy Caregiver sessions.

Nevada also has a unique ADSSP project that applies to rural caregivers. The purpose is to help caregivers provide care for their loved ones in their homes through the use of telemedicine technology. The state has developed an established network of dementia telehealth care that works to provide diagnostic and treatment services for Alzheimer’s disease in rural areas, as well as provide supportive services for dementia caregivers.

“By statute, the ADSSP has always had an explicit focus on reaching isolated populations impacted by Alzheimer’s disease, including rural caregivers,” Skowronski said.

In recent years, ADSSP projects have worked to reach rural caregivers through in various ways: remote communication methods—such as telemedicine, the Internet, university extension services, existing statewide high-speed broadband videoconferencing systems, telephone-based support groups, videotapes, and CDs; using and supporting existing community resources—such as local Alzheimer’s Association chapters or home service providers to help rural caregivers; and training and support of rural outreach workers to identify and assist caregivers of persons with dementia, she said.


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