The BeWell Institute

Growing Skills And Knowledge Onsite For Agencies, Service Providers And Groups To Better Support Adults In Later Life

It is not only clients who often need training and consultation centered on their issues and needs and delivered in their own operational context. When agency staff or stakeholder populations seek information, knowledge, skill building or consultation regarding our community’s fastest growing demographic, older adults, the professional staff of Syracuse Jewish Family Service offers workshops and inservices at their place of business, specifically tailored to the makeup and needs of their organization’s staff and clients.

SJFS specializes in working with older adults and their families and service networks. We have expertise in and can address a variety of topics from an individual as well as a family systems or service provider perspective: mental health issues, brain/cognitive health, case management, caregiving, and aging.

From one session to multiple sessions, one hour to full-day, we are available to help organizations build capacity and to consult on individual cases and issues. Potential workshop topics listed below, divided for the sake of clarity into Cognitive and Emotional focus areas, can also serve as a jumping off point for elaborations or new topics specific to an agency’s clientele and staff. Case consultation is also provided, within the learning context of the workshop or inservice presentation.

Supporting Cognitive Wellness

Do the people you serve worry about their memory or their risk for Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia? Do they want to participate in more stimulating cognitive activities? Or learn how to adapt their lifestyle to keep their brain healthy for as long as possible? Are they interested in learning specific strategies to help them remember better?

Do your staff need more information about how to support people with cognitive challenges or the behavioral changes that may accompany dementia? Could you use some insight and tips on engaging positively and productively with their families?

Let us tailor our programs to the needs of your clients as well as your staff, and help educate them about cognitive changes over the lifespan and how to cope with cognitive decline. Some of our core programs are described below; please get in touch to discuss new or modified ideas to align with your population, issues, and interests.

1. Use it or Lose it: Building Cognitive Activities into Your Program Calendar

Variety, challenge, and novelty are key to keeping our brains sharp. Learn how to use cognitive activities as well as physical activities with a cognitive component (such as Chi Kung exercises) for persons across the spectrum of cognitive wellness: healthy; Mild Cognitive Impairment; mild, moderate and severe dementia.

Potential Audience: Staff in adult day programs, senior centers, assisted living, independent living residences

2. Lifelong Brain Health

An overview of the most current research on lifestyle habits that impact brain health, with a focus on cognitive activities, physical exercise, nutrition, and social engagement. A 6-week program also incorporates in-class activities and exercises. Sessions on specific topics (e.g. “physical exercise and brain health”) can also be offered as a stand-alone class. A two-hour class called “The Buzz on Your Brain” highlights key concepts.

Potential Audience: Staff or clients/residents in day programs, senior centers, assisted living,

independent living residences

3. Cognitive and Behavioral Challenges in Older Adults

An overview of conditions that can cause cognitive impairment and/or behavioral changes, the typical course and outward manifestations of these conditions, and how to assist the affected person and caregivers to cope with these changes and to function as independently as possible. Cases specific to an agency or program can be presented for discussion and consultation.

Potential Audience: Staff and/or caregivers in day programs, senior centers, assisted living, independent living residences

4. Memory Enhancement: Practical and Proven Strategies

An overview of the typical changes associated with normal aging vs. those that indicate a disease process. Course will review the different types of memory, with a focus on those that can be improved and proven techniques to do so. Course will include practice of these techniques.

Potential Audience: Staff and/or clients/residents in day programs, senior centers, assisted living, independent living residences

5. Improving your Lifestyle

An overview of how habits are formed, how to create new habits and how to let go of unhealthy or undesirable habits

Potential Audience: Staff and/or clients/residents in day programs, senior centers, assisted living, independent living residences

6. Mainstreaming Adults with Dementia

There continues to be a debate over whether it is more effective to offer dementia-specific programs and residential settings or to integrate persons with dementia into programs that serve people across the cognitive spectrum. Learn about the pros and cons of each of these approaches, how to identify the signs that someone needs assistance and how to help the person with dementia adapt in an integrated setting, and how to build a successful program by fostering support among participants that are more cognitively healthy.

Potential Audience: Staff in day programs, senior centers, assisted living, independent living residences

7. Working with the Memory Impaired Individual

An overview of how cognitive decline affects a person’s functioning, emotional health, and ability to participate in the counseling process. We will present a rationale for supportive and change-oriented therapy and strategies to help the person achieve their therapeutic goals within the context of their impairment, as well as strategies to encourage lifestyle changes that can impact cognitive function.

Potential Audience: Mental health clinicians (social workers, marriage and family therapists,

mental health counselors)

Supporting Emotional Well-being

Do you serve caregivers who need help taking care of themselves?

Do you serve older adults who worry about the changes taking place in their lives or the changes they anticipate facing in the coming years?

Do your staff need more information about the transitions faced by older adults and how to cope with them?

Let us tailor our programs to the needs of your clients as well as your staff to help educate them about caregiving, coping with stress, and aging gracefully.

1. Planning to FLOURISH

Using an “ask the expert” format, our instructors are available for individual or group sessions to answer questions pertaining to navigating the complex journey of aging. Explore with us what format would work best for your organization— for example, this can be offered as a “lunch and learn” or an evening “clinic” for company employees or as a customer appreciation seminar. When it’s time to take away the car keys (and how to do it); convincing a parent to accept help; signing up for Medicare and Medicaid; finding and paying for in-home help, considering and implementing a change in residential status... Whatever the concern is, our experts can start the conversation and provide direction for next steps.

Potential Audience: Anyone caring for an older adult, including employees, participants at public forums, and TV/radio listeners

2. Zen and the Art of Caregiving

This class will introduce mindfulness and six other Zen concepts that can be very useful in supporting a calm, joyful caregiving experience. Using humor, storytelling and simple exercise, this class provides a new take on ancient wisdom as a way to re-think your caregiving experiences.

Potential Audience: Community dwelling caregivers in settings such as senior centers and independent living residences

3. Zen and the Art of Graceful Aging

This class introduces a variety of Zen concepts that can be very useful in supporting a graceful aging experience. These concepts, while spiritual in nature, have nothing to do with religion and everything to do with health and happiness. Using humor, storytelling and simple exercises, this class provides a new take on ancient wisdom as a way to prepare your heart and mind for the journey ahead.

Potential Audience: Community-dwelling older adults

4. Happiness: the Antidote to Stress and Depression in Older Adults

An overview of the prevalence and risk factors for depression in older adults, the connection between chronic stress and depression, and non-medical, evidence-based interventions that can be successfully used to treat depression with a focus on how interventions based on positive psychology can rewire your brain for happiness.

Potential Audience: Staff and/or clients/residents in day programs, senior centers, assisted living, independent living residences

5. Life’s Journeys: Coping with Transitions

Aging is associated with many transitions, including those associated with loss of loved ones, moving into a new setting, loss of pets, and changes in physical function. This class will review the different types of losses that can occur over the course of one’s lifetime and offer coping strategies to help older adults and their care partners through these periods.

Potential Audience: Staff and/or clients/residents in day programs, senior centers, assisted living, independent living residences, community dwelling adults

6. Beating the Blues

Offered as a 4-part series, these sessions help participants understand and recognize symptoms of “the blues,” introduce coping strategies and teach self-help skills, and increase participants’ awareness of community resources to assist them.

Potential Audience: Staff and/or clients/residents in day programs, senior centers, assisted living, independent living residences; fraternal organizations and clubs

7. Problem Solving

Has life come to feel like just an unending series of problems? Build your problem solving muscles to feel empowered and in better control. Problem solving uses a series of steps to (1) articulate issues; (2) identify, prioritize, choose, plan and implement solutions; and (3) evaluate and appreciate success. Problem solving can help reduce depression, lessen stress, and improve quality of life.

Potential Audience: Staff and/or clients/residents in day programs, senior centers, assisted living, independent living residences; fraternal organizations and clubs 

8. Births out of Brokenness: Growing Whole as We Grow Older

Join a Wisdom Circle to work through Rabbi Dayle A. Friedman’s latest book, “Jewish Wisdom for Growing Older: Finding Your Grit and Grace Beyond Midlife.” Over 6-12 months the group will explore together, in a context of safety, trust, and mutual support, the themes, concepts and practices offered in the book and elsewhere aimed at preparing the ground for a self-defined “successful” aging. All who consider themselves “old people in training” are welcome to participate.

Potential Audience: Jewish sisterhoods and brotherhoods; Jewish chavurot; and Jewish and interfaith book groups and friendship groups

9. Grumpy Old Bullies: Why Can’t Adults Just Get Along?

Many of us associate bullying with children and youth. Unfortunately, bullying can continue throughout the lifespan. Learn the risk factors for being an aging bully, the consequences of bullying for the victims, and how to address bullying in your senior community.

Potential Audience: Staff and/or clients/residents in independent living residences, assisted living, adult day program, senior community centers, nursing homes

 

2. Zen and the Art of Caregiving

This class will introduce mindfulness and six other Zen concepts that can be very useful in supporting a calm, joyful caregiving experience. Using humor, storytelling and simple exercise, this class provides a new take on ancient wisdom as a way to re-think your caregiving experiences.

Potential Audience: Community dwelling caregivers in settings such as senior centers and independent living residences

3. Zen and the Art of Graceful Aging

This class introduces a variety of Zen concepts that can be very useful in supporting a graceful aging experience. These concepts, while spiritual in nature, have nothing to do with religion and everything to do with health and happiness. Using humor, storytelling and simple exercises, this class provides a new take on ancient wisdom as a way to prepare your heart and mind for the journey ahead.

Potential Audience: Community-dwelling older adults

4. Happiness: the Antidote to Stress and Depression in Older Adults

An overview of the prevalence and risk factors for depression in older adults, the connection between chronic stress and depression, and non-medical, evidence-based interventions that can be successfully used to treat depression with a focus on how interventions based on positive psychology can rewire your brain for happiness.

Potential Audience: Staff and/or clients/residents in day programs, senior centers, assisted living, independent living residences

5. Life’s Journeys: Coping with Transitions

Aging is associated with many transitions, including those associated with loss of loved ones, moving into a new setting, loss of pets, and changes in physical function. This class will review the different types of losses that can occur over the course of one’s lifetime and offer coping strategies to help older adults and their care partners through these periods.

Potential Audience: Staff and/or clients/residents in day programs, senior centers, assisted living, independent living residences, community dwelling adults

6. Beating the Blues

Offered as a 4-part series, these sessions help participants understand and recognize symptoms of “the blues,” introduce coping strategies and teach self-help skills, and increase participants’ awareness of community resources to assist them.

Potential Audience: Staff and/or clients/residents in day programs, senior centers, assisted living, independent living residences; fraternal organizations and clubs

7. Problem Solving

Has life come to feel like just an unending series of problems? Build your problem solving muscles to feel empowered and in better control. Problem solving uses a series of steps to (1) articulate issues; (2) identify, prioritize, choose, plan and implement solutions; and (3) evaluate and appreciate success. Problem solving can help reduce depression, lessen stress, and improve quality of life.

Potential Audience: Staff and/or clients/residents in day programs, senior centers, assisted living, independent living residences; fraternal organizations and clubs 

8. Births out of Brokenness: Growing Whole as We Grow Older

Join a Wisdom Circle to work through Rabbi Dayle A. Friedman’s latest book, “Jewish Wisdom for Growing Older: Finding Your Grit and Grace Beyond Midlife.” Over 6-12 months the group will explore together, in a context of safety, trust, and mutual support, the themes, concepts and practices offered in the book and elsewhere aimed at preparing the ground for a self-defined “successful” aging. All who consider themselves “old people in training” are welcome to participate.

Potential Audience: Jewish sisterhoods and brotherhoods; Jewish chavurot; and Jewish and interfaith book groups and friendship groups

9. Grumpy Old Bullies: Why Can’t Adults Just Get Along?

Many of us associate bullying with children and youth. Unfortunately, bullying can continue throughout the lifespan. Learn the risk factors for being an aging bully, the consequences of bullying for the victims, and how to address bullying in your senior community.

Potential Audience: Staff and/or clients/residents in independent living residences, assisted living, adult day program, senior community centers, nursing homes

CNY PEARLS now also in Oswego County

CNY PEARLS, the Program for Encouraging Active Rewarding LiveS screens and assists adults over 60 with symptoms of depression, empowering them to take action steps and make lasting life changes.

Have you been feeling down or blue or know someone who is?

Thanks to support from the Richard S. Shineman Foundation, Syracuse Jewish Family Service now offers this no cost, evidence-based in-home counseling program for individuals in Oswego County who qualify.

Call David Donaghy, 446-9111 x.227, for screening and enrollment information.

M-Power U Now Enrolling for a Second Session

M-Power U: A Learning Community for Early Memory Loss, is enrolling participants for a second weekly session starting this summer, Thursdays from 1 pm to 5 pm at Menorah Park.

Learn More