March 7, 2012

Free Online Workshop Available for Caregivers

Building Better Caregivers seeks to help loved ones caring for Idaho's most vulnerable older adults.

Today, Idahoans with Alzheimer’s disease could fill the Boise State Bronco Stadium, and that number is expected to double in just 14 years.  Most persons with Alzheimer’s disease are cared for by informal or family caregivers who perform a variety of important tasks—bathing, cooking, administering medications, monitoring symptoms, and others. Over time, these responsibilities can become overwhelming and exhausting, and can even compromise the caregiver’s health.

As reported in the National Alzheimer’s Association’s 2011 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures (accessible at, there are 73,230 caregivers for persons with Alzheimer’s in Idaho providing 83,393,999 hours of unpaid care annually. The Idaho Commission on Aging (ICOA) is sponsoring free online Building Better Caregivers (BBC) workshops through 2012.  Caregivers who care for people with Alzheimer’s Disease or other forms of dementia have a chance to enhance their caregiving skills, improve their emotional well-being, and take greater control of their own health, through participation in a workshop.

To access the free online workshop, go to:

The easy-to-follow workshop format, which you access on your own schedule, can help you:

  • Find practical ways to manage your own fatigue and stress.
  • Discover how to manage difficult care partner behaviors and feelings.
  • Make good decisions and future plans for you and your loved ones.
  • Learn what you need to do to improve your sleep, eat better, and stay active.

“Providing caregivers access to  self-management support programs like BBC needs to become an integral part of our health care system if we are going to improve health and reduce costs,” says Richard Birkel, PhD, National Council on Aging (NCOA) Vice President for Self Management and former Director of the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving.  An Administration on Aging grant enables ICOA to partner with the NCOA to host this promising online self-management workshop, originally developed by Stanford University.