Dementia and caregiver support groups seek participants

May 27, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – A facilitator of new support groups for people with dementia and their caregivers is seeking potential participants from State College and surrounding areas as well as a co-facilitator for the caregiver support group.

BrainBuilders is designed for people who are living at home or with family and who struggle with thinking, memory and communication issues. These challenges may be the result of a diagnosed disease process or condition such as Alzheimer's disease, frontal temporal dementia, Parkinson's disease, adult onset hydrocephalus, vascular dementia or other medical conditions.

Anne Marie “Kitty” Kubat, an instructor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders in the College of Health and Human Development at Penn State, is spearheading the Brainbuiders program at Penn State, which launched seven years ago at Purdue University, where Kubat led the program for six years.

The Penn State program will launch this fall, meeting weekly at Juniper Village at Brookline in State College.

BrainBuilders’ clients must be living at home; able to participate in the 90-minute sessions; have an interest in attending; and not have a history of behavioral outbursts or wandering.

The program provides weekly support to people with mild to moderate stages of cognitive decline, and provides an environment for social interaction, language/cognitive stimulation and creative expression for individuals experiencing cognitive deficits.

Each week, BrainBuilders clients will participate in structured and appropriate activities to stimulate attention, memory and thinking skills. Socialization, participation and enjoyment of group activities will be the primary foci of the program.

Simultaneous to the BrainBuilders session, the family member or caregiver with whom the BrainBuilder member lives will participate in the Circle of Support. The client’s primary caregiver must participate in the Circle of Support program.

Kubat is seeking a facilitator for the Circle of Support. The ideal caregiver support group facilitator would have knowledge of the behavioral, cognitive and communicative decline associated with dementia, either through professional training or personal experience.

“The support group facilitator should have empathy and good communication skills, have an ability to collaborate and possess enthusiasm, passion and energy,” Kubat said. “They must be respectful of others and must be willing to make a commitment to volunteering with BrainBuilders in order to build a sense of trust and community and to assure continuity for support group members.”

Those interested in participating in the support group or becoming the Circle of Support faciliator can call Kitty Kubat at 814-867-6212 for an initial telephone screening. Limited space is available, however, if a larger need is identified a second set of support groups could be established.

Last Updated May 27, 2015