By Liza Berger, Staff Writer
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.