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Caregivers Boot Camp

Caregivers Boot Camp

by Anne Chernin, MSW, MBA, Director of Client Services

At Naples Senior Center we know that caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia can be challenging and, at times, overwhelming.  Caregivers devote themselves to round-the-clock care in support of their loved ones. This increased level of commitment can be burdensome, exhausting and even dangerous. Caregivers experience higher rates of physical illness, social isolation, emotional distress and financial hardship compared to non-caregivers in the population. Research shows 40% to 70% of family caregivers suffer from clinical depression and are at a greater risk of developing a chronic illness. What caregivers have in common is the need for support.

To assist caregivers, Naples Senior Center at JFCS (NSC) offers quarterly Caregiver Boot Camps. These half day workshop provide caregivers with education, socialization and specific hands-on skills. In June, Naples Senior Center at JFCS held the most recent boot camp. Twenty-five caregivers received training on understanding what the individual with dementia is thinking and how to approach caregiving from that perspective, concrete skills for caring for someone with dementia, ways to handle difficult behaviors such as sun downing or wandering and tips to better manage daily living. Caregivers also learned strategies for relieving stress and heard from an elder law attorney on how to legally protect themselves and their loved ones. Respite care was provided at no charge to enable caregivers to attend the Boot Camp.  Comments from those attending the Boot Camp included; “Loved it.” “Provoked great conversation.” “Able to share frustrations we (caregivers) all share, but don’t always talk about.”

The next Caregivers Boot Camp is scheduled for Thursday, November 1, 2018 at NSC. Reservations are required. There is no charge to the participants for the program or respite. The Caregiver Bootcamps are offered through the generosity of a community impact grant from the Southwest Florida Community Foundation.

NSC is a non-sectarian human service agency committed to providing services for all individuals who reside in Collier and southern Lee counties regardless of income, ethnicity, or religion.  In addition to the Caregiver Boot Camp, NSC provides eight weekly dementia respite support groups in the community for individuals with a medical diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia. The groups are designed to help enhance communication skills, to improve an individual’s mood, to help access long term memory, and to increase socialization. NSC also provides a wide array of socialization activities for independent seniors in our senior center. Other programs and services provided to the community include geriatric case management, information and referral, a choice food pantry, emergency assistance, mental health services and volunteer services. Fees are charged on a sliding scale based on income and no one is ever turned away due to an inability to pay. For more information or to make a reservation for the next Caregiver Boot Camp call 239-325-4444 or email: [email protected].

This summer and early fall, Florida Weekly has graciously allowed us, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, to spotlight the nonprofit organizations funded through the Foundation’s 2018 competitive grant cycle.  We have asked these grantees to share their stories. We are pleased to partner with these change-makers.


About the Southwest Florida Community Foundation

The Southwest Florida Community Foundation, founded in 1976, cultivates regional change for the common good through collective leadership, social innovation and philanthropy to address the evolving community needs in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Foundation partners with individuals, families and corporations who have created more than 400 philanthropic funds. Thanks to them, the Foundation invested $5.4 million in grants and programs to the community. With assets of $115 million, it has provided more than $71 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves since inception. The Foundation is the backbone organization for the regional FutureMakers Coalition.

Southwest Florida Community Foundation
Southwest Florida Community Foundation

Our ambition is a more vibrant community that will continually address the evolving community needs in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties in Southwest Florida. We invite you to join our family and invest in the community with us!