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Oregon Care Partners is teaming up with the Alzheimer's Association for a Nov. 18 class at the Juanita Pohl Center.

Are you a caregiver?

Consider the question. According to Ann Dupuis, a communications specialist for Oregon Care Partners, it's “kind of a broad term.”

“There's a lot of people that fall under that 'caregiver' definition,” Dupuis said.

When Oregon Care Partners, a not-for-profit consortium based in the Tigard Triangle, refers to “caregivers,” it doesn't just mean live-in nurses or aides and other healthcare professionals. If you help look after an elderly relative or friend with dementia, even just on an occasional basis, you are a caregiver, Dupuis said.

The role of Oregon Care Partners is to provide free training classes and workshops — both in-person and online — for caregivers all across the state of Oregon, whether they are full-time or part-time, professional or personal.

Tens of thousands of elderly Oregonians live with Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia, Dupuis said, and that number is growing fast as the “Baby Boomer” generation ages.

“That's where we come in,” she added.

On Nov. 18, Oregon Care Partners is teaming up with the Oregon chapter of the Alzheimer's Association to offer a free class at the Juanita Pohl Center, located at 8513 S.W. Tualatin Road in Tualatin, from 9:30 a.m. to noon. The title of the class presented by the Alzheimer's Association is “Living with Alzheimer's for Caregivers: Late Stage.”

“In the late stage of Alzheimer’s disease, caregiving typically involves new ways of connecting and interacting with the person with the disease,” a class description on Oregon Care Partners' website begins.

The class will provide caregivers with information about the symptoms of late-stage Alzheimer's disease, the needs of people suffering from it, and how to effectively communicate and care for loved ones in the late stage of Alzheimer's disease.

Sarah Holland, director of programs for the Alzheimer's Association chapter, said the classes her group presents in collaboration with Oregon Care Partners allow people to be informed about dealing with Alzheimer's disease.

“Alzheimer's disease, it's not an intuitive disease like cancer, where you can treat physical symptoms,” Holland said. “The symptoms we see with Alzheimer's, they're behaviors. And if you don't know what's happening to your loved one, it's challenging to navigate the day-to-day.”

Anyone interested in registering for the Alzheimer's class can call 800-272-3900. As with all classes offered through Oregon Care Partners, it is free.

“We don't have a mechanism for accepting any kind of money for services or classes,” Dupuis said.

Another Oregon Care Partners class is coming up next month in Tigard. That Dec. 8 class is called “Navigating Challenging Behaviors: Strengthening Our Communications Skills as Caregivers,” and it will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the Best Western Plus Northwind Inn & Suites at 16105 S.W. Pacific Hwy.

Oregon Care Partners receives its funding through a state contract, according to Dupuis. She said it is in its third year of funding.

“The state recognized a need for high-quality training for caregivers,” Dupuis explained.

Oregon Care Partners offers much of that training on its website. Visitors can create an account to register for free classes, which Dupuis said caregivers often find useful to fit with their schedule.

“One of the things that I hear from caregivers … is they love the fact that they can start one of the classes and stop and restart, so they can kind of take it on their timeframe,” she said.

Oregon Care Partners is located at 11740 S.W. 68th Pkwy., in Suite 250.

By Mark Miller
Assistant Editor
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