Tuesday, September 22, 2020

GAIT Program FALL 2020

The unexpected circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in our having to be creative in the delivery of these valuable learning experiences that bring together students from all University System of Maryland campuses for didactic and clinical sessions at geriatric sites such as medical & rehabilitative hospitals, independent living & long-term care communities, and hospice & palliative care settings.  

For the safety of the vulnerable populations with whom our GAIT participants interact, the Maryland Area Health Education Centers (AHECs) and I have been hard at work researching and discussing a format to host GAIT experiences virtually. I am excited to announce that we will be offering at least three virtual GAITs this fall. 

As in our traditional GAITs, interviews will be an important aspect of these virtual GAITs. To that end, I am writing to invite you/your students to attend a ZOOM discussion/interview (~45 min) we are hosting Thursday, September 24 at 2pm (eastern) on the topic of caregiving. Dr. Julia Biernot, a neurologist specializing in neurocognitive disorders will be interviewing Martha, the spouse of a gentleman who is now in the end stages of Alzheimer’s disease (see details below).  We are inviting students to participate in this activity, where they will have the opportunity to ask questions of Martha and Dr. Biernot. We will be recording the event for use in our virtual GAITs. 

I hope you will share this information with your students & faculty and encourage them to attend this discussion to learn about early onset Alzheimer’s dementia and spousal caregiving. The link to register is GAIT Project Sept 25 Interview .

About the Presenter 

Martha became concerned when her healthy, caring, soft-spoken husband, Jerry, started to become forgetful at the age of 55. She did not expect that 7 years later, she would need to retire early to care for Jerry, who is now in the final stages Alzheimer’s disease. Throughout Jerry’s illness, Martha has been a devoted wife, a dedicated caregiver, a fierce advocate, and an inspirational teacher. Her training as an ICU nurse enables Martha to care for Jerry in their home, at a time when many patients with dementia are separated from their loved ones. She will share details about Jerry’s diagnosis, his rapid decline, her own experience and struggles as a caregiver, and what gives her strength.