UPDATED June 14, 2012, to show that the training seminar is free.
ST. GEORGE – The Alzheimer’s and Dementia Society is sponsoring a free training on June 18 about understanding aggressive behavior when caring for a person that has dementia. Nina Ferrell, M.A., director of Mobil Assessment and Geriatric Outreach at Salt Lake Behavioral Health, is the invited professional conducting the training.
“Aggressive behavior is not a normal part of dementia. However, when it happens the caregiver and the care receiver suffer,” said LuAnn Lundquist, founder and director of the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Society. “There are things that can often prevent agitation and there are procedures to follow when someone is agitated. That is what this training is all about.”
Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias can cause a person to act in different and unpredictable ways. Aggression and anxious behavior may be an issue for some individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. Other behaviors include misinterpreting what is heard and repeating questions and gestures.
These types of reactions can lead to misunderstandings, frustrations and tension between the person with dementia and the caregiver. It is important to understand that the person is not acting that way on purpose.
“We want to prepare our caregivers for every situation when taking care of a person with dementia,” Lundquist said. “We are honored to have Ms. Ferrell here to train and share her knowledge and experience in preventing and dealing with aggressive behaviors. With training that is applied in the home or in the facility, our clients will experience a better quality of life.”
Often times aggressive behavior can be credited towards physical discomfort, overstimulation, unfamiliar surroundings, complicated tasks and frustrating interactions. Ferrell will give insight and provide tools on how to better manage these aggressive behaviors.
Ferrell will show how to be aware of escalating emotions by watching the body language of the person with dementia. She will teach techniques to communicate and to calm the aggression, all while creating protection for both parties. Becoming aware of triggers is key, and Ferrell will educate on how to be aware of signs in order to provide an environment that is relaxed for everyone.
“Every person living with the disease reacts differently to their fears. If the caregiver, family or professional, is prepared they can ease those fears and create a better environment of care,” Lundquist said.
Ferrell has a master’s degree in psychometrics and counseling from the University of Colorado at Denver, with undergraduate and post graduate studies in psychology and business administration. She currently is employed by Salt Lake Behavioral Health, a 118-bed acute psychiatric hospital in Salt Lake City as director of assessment services, mobile assessment and geriatric outreach.
The free training will be held on June 18 at the Applegate Education Center, located at 1490 E. Foremaster Drive, Suite 345, St. George, from 3-4:45 p.m.
For more information please contact the Alzheimer’s & Dementia Society in the Coral Desert Rehabilitation building, located at at 1490 E. Foremaster Drive, Bldg. B in St. George, or call 435-319-0407.