Collaborative programs from MSU Extension and the Alzheimer’s Association Michigan Chapter

These programs cover a variety of ways to support caregivers during the challenging times brought on by COVID-19.

A daughter with her elderly mother smile and laugh on a park bench.
Photo: Unsplash/Dario Valenzuela.

According to a March 2020 report from AARP (American Association for Retired Persons) and the National Alliance for Caregiving, there are 48 million caregivers caring for someone over the age of 18. Of those caregivers, more that 26%, or over 12 million people, care for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

Many of these caregivers are at risk for greater degrees of stress and depression, and higher levels of physical ailments. Caregivers frequently feel guilty and alone. Oftentimes they do not get the help they need when dealing with the grief, resentment and frustration that comes with caregiving. To help meet this need, Michigan State University Extension and the Alzheimer’s Association Michigan Chapter are teaming up to provide some free online learning opportunities to promote healthy living and strengthen mental health and wellness.

One opportunity is called Healthy Living for Your Brain and Body: Tips from the Latest Research and Wits Workouts. The first session in each four-part series is 1.5 hours. The Alzheimer’s Association will present Healthy Living for Your Brain and Body during the first hour, and MSU Extension will provide brain workout activities for 30 minutes. The last three sessions in each four-part series are 30 minutes of brain workout activities called Wits Workout. There are two identical series being offered; you just need to sign up for one.

The first series will be held Wednesday mornings: April 7 from 10:00-11:30 a.m. and April 14, 21 and 28 from 10:00-10:30 a.m. Register for series one here

The second series will be held Monday evenings: April 26 from 6:00-7:30 p.m. and May 3, 10 and 17 from 6:00-6:30 p.m. Register for series two here. 

A second opportunity is called Mindfulness and Understanding and Responding to Dementia-Related Behaviors. Each one-hour session will begin with 15 minutes of a mindfulness practice lead by MSU Extension, followed by a workshop on understanding dementia by the Alzheimer’s Association.

Register here for April 5 from 9:00-10:00 a.m. 

Register here for April 6 from 3:00-4:00 p.m. 

Register here for April 23 from 3:00-4:00 p.m.  

Register here for April 28 from 3:00-4:00 p.m.

A third opportunity is called COVID-19 & Caregiving, presented by the Alzheimer’s Association and Managing Your Health During Challenging Times presented by MSU Extension. This two-part lunch and learn series will explore ways COVID-19 has affected caregivers and proposes strategies for staying healthy physically, mentally, emotionally and socially.

Part one of COVID-19 and Caregiving will be held on Tuesday, April 27 from 12:00-1:00 p.m. Part two of Managing Your Health During Challenging Times will be held on Thursday, April 29 from 12:00-1:00 p.m. You can register for this opportunity here.

According to author Shilpa Krishnan, taking the time to strengthen healthy coping skills can help prevent caregiver burnout. These programs provide an opportunity to learn about caregiving topics and focus on positive strategies for self-care. THRIVE (Tailoring Healthy Resources through In-Person Instruction and Virtual Education) Michigan has additional self-care resources specifically for family caregivers. 

Michigan State University Extension offers workshops that help people learn about thriving while caregiving and dealing with stress in healthy ways. For more information, please visit Powerful Tools for Caregivers and Stress Less with Mindfulness.

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