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Caregiving Coast to Coast – Part I & II

Caregiving crosses all illnesses, conditions and health concerns, and caring for people with dementia has been shown to have the highest caregiver burden. Sharing this burden can relieve this stress and hearing from others that are going through similar journeys can provide you with solutions as well.

Watch this interactive, engaging two-part series with caregiving experts: Ana Nelson, Alzheimer’s Association, Jenny Peterson, USC Family Caregiver Support Center, Jodi Lyons, Eldercare Expert, Rita Ghatak, Founder of Aging Adult Services at Stanford University Medical Center, and Melissa Long, Recreational Therapist and Certified Dementia Practitioner, as they discuss the ins and outs of caregiving, share advice and tell their stories.

Ana Nelson, Vice President of Programs & Services at the Alzheimer’s Association National Capital Area Chapter.  She provides visionary leadership and direction for program development, implementation, and evaluation.  Ana is one of the associations National Research Champions, and served on the Dept. of Defense Brain Injury Research Grant Review Committee.  She currently serves on the Virginia Jones Advisory Committee for the MD Alzheimer’s State Plan. Ana has 25 yrs. of executive leadership experience in program development, dementia specialization, marketing, team development, and organization management. She has worked closely with both family members & professionals across the care spectrum. Ana wealth of “hands on” experience in diverse environments include developing community agency partnerships, education and outreach services, leading family support groups, recruiting, training and mentoring volunteers and staff, expanding marketing and development opportunities for organizations. She is a subject matter expert on policy planning and implementation procedures for consistently delivering quality service.  Previously, Ana was President & Executive Director of the Stamford Senior Center in CT, and CT Regional Director for the Alzheimer’s Association. She is a former President of the WIC Directors Association for Maine, Certified Law Enforcement Instructor by Police Officers Standards and Training Council, and Health District Board member. 

Dr. Rita Ghatak has been actively working on health and access issues for older adults since her early education in New Delhi, India.  Working extensively in the field of aging with direct care, research and education, she was most recently the Founder/Director of Aging Adult Services at Stanford University Medical Center. She directed the programs of Care Coordination, Geriatric Health, Home Technology, Memory Support, Caregiver Education, Chronic Disease Self-Management to name a few. She was the recipient of the prestigious Isaac Stein Award for Compassionate Care at Stanford University Medical Center in 2008. She is a published psychologist/gerontologist and is an Associate Director of Optimal Aging Center, www.optimalagingcenter.com.

Melissa Long is a certified recreational therapist and certified dementia practitioner, providing goal-oriented therapy to individuals with multiple diagnoses and delivering individualized services based on each person’s past, present, and future interests, and lifestyle. Customizing a treatment plan that encompasses social, cognitive, physical, and leisure needs is vital to a successful program. Healthy living is encouraged and promoted to ensure not only improved functioning, but also to enhance independence and successful involvement in all aspects of life. Melissa is also a Licensed BCAT® practitioner.  Melissa was ATRAs Frank L. Bastile Clinician of the Year 2016. This award recognizes the recipient’s outstanding contribution to recreational therapy through creative and innovative programming in a clinical setting through promotion of the profession and service to developing professionals. Melissa is a graduate of the University of Southern Maine with a B.S. in Therapeutic Recreation and Leisure Studies and a minor in Health Studies. Melissa has been providing care to older adults for 17+ years. Recreational Therapyhas been providing older adults and their caregivers support and therapy sessions for 5 years. www.recreationaltherapy3.com 

Jodi Lyons is an eldercare expert who helps older adults and those with special needs find the care they need throughout the country. An ardent patient advocate, Jodi helps people navigate the complicated, often convoluted system, identify what they need, and learn how to create an action plan. With more than twenty years of experience in the nonprofit healthcare arena, Jodi has been a leader in national and international organizations representing healthcare and long-term care service providers. She is a graduate of Brandeis University in Waltham, MA and a former president of the Washington, D.C. area alumni association. She is a co-author of the award-winning book, Brain Health As You Age (Rowman and Littlefield 2018), was a contributor and industry advisor to Telemedicine Magazine, a contributor to Startup Health Magazine, and is an eldercare consultant who helps older adults find the care they need throughout the country. She specializes in the practical aspects of dealing with cognitive issues and caregiving and lectures frequently to caregivers, attorneys, and financial advisors. She is a former executive committee member of the Alzheimer’s Association National Capital Area. 

Jenny Peterson is a Program Specialist at the USC Family Caregiver Support Center, where she coordinates educational programs and community events for family caregivers. She has been working in the caregiving field for almost 15 years. In her spare time, she is very busy chauffeuring her two kids around town and wrangling her two rambunctious dogs.

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