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Caregiver alert:These coursescan help you

During the month of April, the Florida Gulf Coast Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association is offering free training programs for families and caregivers coping with Alzheimer’s disease or a related disorder. This training will help families and caregivers with understanding how VA benefits, hospice and AARP can assist caregivers; legal and financial issues; ABCs of dementia; overview of memory screenings; and coping with transitions.

If you are caring for a loved one with memory problems, I urge you to take advantage of these training sessions. Being a caregiver can be a very isolating experience. Knowing there are supportive organizations you can lean on helps tremendously. The people involved have been where you are, done what you are trying to do.

The professionals from the different participating organizations can give you access to services you may not know exist.

Helping yourself is the best way you can help the person who is depending on you.

Here’s a listing of programs offered:

n How VA benefits can assist the caregiver, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. April 2, The Inn at Freedom Village, 6410 21st Ave. W., Bradenton. Presenter: Hal Willis, Veteran’s Administration.

n Creative and Caring Connections, 10 a.m.-noon April 3, Westminster Shores, 1700 Third Ave. W., Bradenton. Presenter: Cindy Clay, Tidewell Hospice.

n How VA benefits can assist the caregiver, 10 a.m.-noon April 7, Windsor Oaks, 2614 43rd St. W., Bradenton. Presenter: Earl Houston, Veteran’s Administration.

n Legal and Financial Issues for the Caregiver, 10 a.m.-noon April 14, Windsor Oaks, 2614 43rd St. W., Bradenton. Presenter: Roy Wilkes, Elder Law Attorney.

n ABC’s of Caregiving, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. April 21, Clare Bridge of Bradenton, 6101 Pointe West Blvd., Bradenton. Presenter: Sue Fox, Alzheimer’s Association Program Specialist.

This last program is particularly important as it is designed to teach caregivers the differences between dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Donna Wright, health reporter, can be reached at 745-7049.