Alzheimer’s caregiver workshop coming to Cherry Hill

Half-day program to be held at Crowne Plaza next month.

The Alzheimer’s Association Delaware Valley Chapter will host a free workshop on March 31 geared to seniors, their families and other caregivers.

The workshop at Crowne Plaza on Route 70 in Cherry Hill is free and open to the public. It aims to provide the greater South Jersey community with an opportunity not only to learn about the basics of Alzheimer’s disease, but also to become educated on topics of importance to seniors and their families, according to Linda Barba, manager of marketing and communications for the Alzheimer’s chapter. 

The half-day session will be broken down into presentations on individual topics, all related to caring for a member of the family struggling with the disease. They include: Understanding Alzheimer’s and Dementia, Health Advocacy 101, How to Protect Yourself from Elder Abuse and Financial Scams, Compassion Fatigue and Your Five Most Important Documents. 

“This is our first half-day workshop in Cherry Hill. In the past we have held conferences, as well as one-hour education programs here,” said Effie Murphy, program coordinator for the Alzheimer’s chapter. 

According to the organization’s website, Alzheimer’s affects nearly six million people nationwide and is the sixth leading cause of death for any age group in the United States. With Baby Boomers aging, the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s is expected to climb to 14 million by 2050. 

The Melogranas are one local family dealing with the effects of the disease. Son Mike Melograna works as the boys varsity soccer coach at Cherry Hill High School East. His  mother is battling the affliction. Last October, he spearheaded a 2-mile walk to raise funds for The Longest Day Project, which helps caregivers deal effectively with those who are suffering. 

As many as 16 million Americans will provide more than 18 billion hours of unpaid care to Alzheimer’s patients, at an estimated cost of $232 billion, according to the chapter website. In the Delaware Valley alone, nearly 300,000 people are affected by Alzheimer’s or a related disorder, with more than 85,000 in South Jersey.

“There is a real need for people to be educated about dementia and its impact on daily life,” Murphy noted. “The purpose of education programs like this one is to arm people with coping skills and practical tools and tactics for living with the disease and being prepared for the future journey.”

The workshop is expected to last from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Registration and breakfast are scheduled to begin at 7:30 a.m., with the program officially kicking off at 8 a.m.

Information about the local chapter of the national organization, as well as additional facts and figures about the disease, are available at alz.org/delval. To register for the March 31 event, call (800) 272-3900 or visit: https://www.alz.org/delval/helping_you/conferences