Many caregivers caught up in the day-to-day challenges of caring for an individual with dementia find it hard, if not impossible, to leave home to attend support groups or workshops to get the answers to their caregiving questions. For them, a viable alternative is Care Connection-a free telephone support service for caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer's disease and related illnesses. The weekly, interactive service is a blend of coaching, presentations by experts and discussion. It links up to 150 caregivers from anywhere in the country for each one-hour session. The network is a strategic alliance between the Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA) and Ask Dr. Jamie; Jamie Rotnofsky, a psychologist and professional life coach, hosts the teleconferences and provides coaching. Care Connection is held each Thursday night at 9 pm Eastern Time. Caregivers can call in toll-free at 877-232-2992; the guest identification number is 271004#. Each session addresses medical, social, emotional and practical issues with a dementia specific slant. For example, on June 10, Paulette D. Cranwell, a nurse consultant with TIME OUT Morris View, Morristown, NJ, will discuss ways to decrease hospital admissions. On June 24, G. Allen Power, MD will talk about "Dementia Beyond Drugs: Changing the Culture of Care,"the title of his new book. Care Connection fills a growing need for alternate types of support services, especially for caregivers whose round-the-clock responsibilities prevent them from attending on-site sessions or interacting in person with other caregivers. "Caregivers need knowledge and support to cope with daily challenges. It's comforting for them to know that they can get this type of help and peer support without having to leave their living rooms," said Eric J. Hall, AFA's president and chief executive officer. The two organizations opted for a telephone support network versus an Internet chat room, in part to accommodate caregivers who are not computer savvy. Archived sessions, however, are available online. The Alzheimer's Foundation of America is a national nonprofit organization that focuses on providing optimal care to individuals with Alzheimer's disease and related illnesses, and their families. Its services include a toll-free hot line, counseling by licensed social workers, educational materials, training for healthcare professionals, and a free caregiver magazine. For more information, call toll-free 866-AFA-8484 or visit http://www.alzfdn.org.
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