Free educational sessions and luncheons for caregivers of people with dementia will be held April 25, 2016, in Mott, ND, and April 26, 2016 in Wishek, ND.

The Mott session will be held at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 315 Brown Avenue, in Mott from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 25. The Wishek session will be held at the Wishek Living Center, 400 South 4th Street, in Wishek from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 26.

“We want to give people the resources they need to keep their loved ones safe and in the home for as long as possible,” said Judy Blaseg, Ecumen Executive Vice President of Philanthropy.  “The vast majority of people with dementia live at home — not in senior care communities.”

Caregivers will receive training in techniques for safely and compassionately dealing with dementia-related behaviors and helping their loved ones stay active and engaged. Both family and professional caregivers are encouraged to attend. 

Registration for the free session is required by April 18.  To sign up go to or call 651-766-4345.

The session will be led by Maria Reyes, RN, a nationally known dementia care expert who is the Project Director of Ecumen Awakenings.  A sought-after speaker on nursing and dementia care, Reyes has worked across all long-term care settings (nursing homes, assisted living and home care) and held several key leadership roles at Ecumen, including serving as a Director of Nursing for a major care center, establishing a new short-term rehabilitation center, and helping launch an Ecumen home care agency as Clinical Director.

Spouses, adult children and professional caregivers are invited to attend one or all of the session segments.  Following is the day’s agenda:

9 a.m.           Understanding Alzheimer’s

10:45 a.m.  Tips for Managing Symptoms

Noon            Lunch and Q & A

1 p.m.          Enriching Activities for Joy and Individuality

2:30 p.m.    Reducing Unnecessary Medications

The session is funded by a grant from the Otto Bremer Trust and is conducted by Ecumen, a nonprofit senior housing and aging services provider based in Shoreview, MN.  Ecumen has received national recognition for its Ecumen Awakenings program — an approach to dementia care focused on replacing the use of highly sedating drugs with individualized care and holistic therapies emphasizing personal connections.

After the training session, attendees have the option of signing up for follow-up support and assistance. Ecumen professionals will contact participants to talk about their specific needs and help direct them to services in their area.