Celebrate caregiving at caregivers conference

Celebrate caregiving at caregivers conference People are invited to "Celebrate Caregiving" at the Seventh Annual Caregivers Conference to be held April 8-9, 2005, at the Ramkota RiverCentre in Pierre.

Gail Ferris, director of the Division of Adult Services and Aging with the Department of Social Services, said the conference is designed to provide the support, understanding and information needed by those who care for another individual. While the conference will provide information on a broad range of caregiving issues, this year's emphasis will be on Alzheimer's disease.

"We want to let people know that there is no need for families to struggle alone," Ferris said. "There is help available. It is important for people to be educated, to know the facts and to be part of a peer support group who can truly relate to what they are going through on a day-to-day basis."

The conference is aimed at family caregivers, professional caregivers and care-receivers, Ferris said. Keynote speakers will be Marilyn Hartle and LaDonna Jensen, with J&H Care Consultants from Indianapolis, IN. They offer a multi-disciplinary approach to holistic care and provide creative solutions for caregivers with an emphasis on Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

Ferris said other topics to be covered at the conference include transportation solutions for caregiving, diabetes, caregiving information on the Internet, wellness activity, rural assistive technology devices, inclusive child care and nutrition. Free screenings for blood pressure, blood glucose, vision glaucoma and hearing will also be available.

"The speakers at this year's Caregivers Conference are from a variety of disciplines and will provide information and inspiration to professionals, caregivers, care-receivers and anyone interested in caregiving," Ferris said.

The registration fee is $125, which includes meals. Scholarships to cover the registration fee and lodging are available through the Alzheimer's Demonstration Grant for direct care staff of adult day care centers, assisted living facilities and nursing homes. Ferris said scholarships are also available for family members, volunteers and friends who help care for an individual with Alzheimer's disease or dementia.

The Caregivers Conference is a collaborative effort of Easter Seals South Dakota, SDSU Cooperative Extension and Avera Health. The conference is supported in part by the Division of Adult Services and Aging, Children's Care Hospital and School, and the Council on Developmental Disabilities.

For more information about the scholarships or to register for the Caregiver's Conference, contact Easter Seals South Dakota at 1-800-592-1852 or the Division of Adult Services and Aging at 1-866-854-5465. Information is also available online at www.sd.easterseals.com.

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