Home Medford News Church members reach out to community with dementia seminar

Church members reach out to community with dementia seminar


Are you wondering if your spouse or parent is “losing it”? Do you have a plan for the future if it involves long-term care? Why are they acting that way? What’s coming next?

According to the World Health Organization, a new case of dementia is diagnosed every four seconds, and caregivers of dementia patients experience high levels of strain on a daily basis.

So why wait until it is too late to be educated on how to handle things if your spouse or parent gets diagnosed?

Nurse practitioner Chris Forward and geriatric care manager Nancy Carman are offering a free seminar called “Caregiving 101” as a service to their church.

Forward and Carman met at the new Grace Community Church on Stokes Road and it was the perfect storm.

“Between the two of us, we had the whole package,” Forward said. “We’re able to cover everything from the psychological side to the medical legal aspects.”

Combining Forward’s experience dealing with dementia patients for 15 years and being a nurse for 34 with Carman’s understanding of the nuts and bolts of Medicare and costs of assisted living, it provided an ideal opportunity to educate the community.

Forward is a nurse practitioner for patients in Burlington County who are homebound and suffering from geriatric dementia, so she sees firsthand what these families are going through.

She often deals with people who want to know why mom and dad are behaving this way, what to do about it and what local resources there are.

“There is a great need out there and not a lot of places to get help,” Forward said.

She alluded to the fact that many of these people are on the fence between whether this is normal aging or the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

This is a crucial stage for folks to encourage these loved ones to sign legal papers while they are still lawfully able to speak for themselves.

“A lot of people deal with this on a day-to-day basis, and when they think about a year from now, it is terrifying. You’re working and mom can’t be left alone, what do you do?” Forward said.

Forward and Carman take great pride in their church and its mission to serve the community.

Many are trying to care for their elderly parents or spouses alone, and Caregiving 101 can help provide these people with a lot of the answers they are searching for.

“This is what we do well,” Forward said. “We both just want to help people who need the help and believe if you have the ability to help out, you should be doing so.”

Caregiving 101 will be held at the Grace Community Church, located at 643 Stokes Road in Medford. There will be two seminars that are open to anyone who is interested. The first will take place on Nov. 2 at 7:30 p.m., and the second will take place on Nov. 9 at 7:30 p.m.

Admission is free, though donations of nonperishable goods for the homeless are appreciated. Refreshments will be served and folks who attend are encouraged to bring their questions.

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