Brick, NJ -The Haven at Shorrock Gardens has welcome news, and an open invitation for families in search of care, compassion, and expert guidance. As the inaugural season of their Alzheimer’s Academy outreach group was such a resounding success, it will return in 2012 with a new schedule of events, informative topics, and guest speakers. The Haven, one of the region’s premier assisted living facilities, will once again host the meetings at their Brick location, the 3rd Thursday of each month with the next meeting scheduled for February 16th. The events are open to everyone, light refreshments will be served, and free care for the loved one will be provided during each discussion.

Wendy Metzger, Administrator at The Haven, explained the group’s success, which in one short year has become embraced by a community affected more and more each day by Alzheimer’s disease. “The Alzheimer’s Academy was very successful at providing expert assistance to those who attended. Speakers included physicians, home health care professionals, an attorney, dietitian, and physical therapist. No where else could these caregivers have had access to personalized instruction from so many different professionals, and all for free.”

No one is ever prepared for the overarching despair and daily challenges that come with a loved one’s Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis. At The Alzheimer’s Academy, both caregivers and their loved ones find the social interactions and professional support that returns a sense of normalcy to their lives. Meeting in a safe, educational and nurturing environment, a community of concerned caregivers connect with each other and trained professionals from The Haven to share common struggles, get inspired, and learn how to take charge of their futures caring for their ailing family member.

There’s something for everyone. Emotionally exhausted attendees who bring their loved one with a Alzheimer’s diagnosis get a well-deserved break, while their loved one gets a chance to meet new people and new faces, and engage meaningfully with The Haven’s staff and residents.

“Caregivers who received the highest benefit from the Alzheimer’s Academy were those who attended multiple sessions throughout the year.” says Metzger. “In this way they got to know the other caregiver attendees and they formed a bond with others in the same challenging situation. They began to offer support to each other and share suggestions from their own personal experience giving everyone a sense of purpose and accomplishment.”

Being suddenly thrust into the role of caregiver is a daunting responsibility, which requires a wide spectrum of expertise, including medical, social, and financial knowledge. At the Alzheimer’s Academy, loving sons, daughters, and spouses can meet experts from every corner of the senior living landscape, access a wide range of knowledge and insight, and through fact-filled discussions gain the tools to transform themselves into strong, smart and confident caregivers.

Family members who attended last year’s events commented how they greatly benefited from attending multiple meetings and having so many different professionals available to them for questions and guidance.

Events and topics of discussion for the 2012 edition of the Alzheimer’s Academy will be shaped largely by input from last year’s participants. “We have learned a lot from our caregiver attendees who are mostly husbands and wives caring for their spouse with dementia.” says Metzger. “We found they are looking for ways to make their loved one happy at home as much as possible, and their challenges include preparing food that is easy to make, and appealing to eat, so we’ll have a whole program based on food preparation when one family member has dementia.” Responding to participants interests in new treatment options, including alternative medicines that might be available and helpful for their loved one, a session on alternative treatments has also been added to the 2012 schedule. Other new topics include pet therapy, physical exercise and brain health, alternative medicines, Veterans Affairs benefits, and how to get a good night’s sleep.

To attend The Alzheimer’s Academy, RSVP at 732-451-1000 ext 510. The Haven at Shorrock Gardens is located at 75 Old Toms River Road in Brick.

The Alzheimer’s Academy is part of The Haven at Shorrock Gardens’ continued commitment to the South Jersey community, reaching out to them with Alzheimer’s education and awareness. Specializing in the care and treatment of patients with early memory loss due to Alzheimer’s Disease, and other memory disorders, The Haven has become a well-respected leader in assisted living services ––right where the populations of Ocean County, and nearby communities need one most.