Spousal Caregivers Symposium
Dr. Brent Mausbach, PhD
Dr. Mausbach is an Associate Professor at UCSD and a co-Principle Investigator for the Alzheimer Caregiver Project.
He has worked in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University where he was involved in several research. One study, with over 250 caregivers, examined the effectiveness of interventions for distressed family caregivers of dementia victims. The research team was able to determine that a cognitive-behavioral intervention, which taught a wide range of coping skills to caregivers, was most effective for reducing caregiver distress. As a result of this research, Dr. Mausbach believes caregivers can learn and use specific skills to reduce stress and improve their moods and overall well-being.
Dr. Mausbach's current research continues to focus on stress and well-being in dementia caregivers. He has helped author research papers on well-being and coping, treatment options for caregivers, and the relationship between psychological stress and physical health. The newly developed Pleasant Events Program (PEP), funded by the National Institute on Aging, should help caregivers determine: a) when they experience changes in their moods (e.g., they become more sad or frustrated), b) the effect that caregiving has on their engagement in enjoyable activities, and c) if certain skills can be used to help them prevent mood changes, increase their coping skills, and improve their overall well-being.
Susan G. Miller
Susan Miller moved to Cardiff from Connecticut in 2009 and immediately became busy hiking, boogie boarding, and simply enjoying California. Her favorite season is winter, when she loves to read about all the snowstorms back east.
She was widowed in 2009, after more than a decade plus of taking care of her husband, who had early-onset Alzheimer’s. She wanted a different life and one where she was not known as a caregiver or a widow. She is enjoying California, and especially her grandson who lives in Carlsbad. She is past president of San Dieguito Newcomers Club, and currently serves as Happy Hour and Breakfast Club chairs.
Susan’s background reflects her impressive versatility. A wife and mother, she has been a school teacher, in sales, a realtor, and a corporate trainer and counselor. She holds a master’s degree in human resource development and Counselling. Currently she is an author and lecturer on Alzheimer’s. It is her goal to help caregivers and families deal with this nasty disease that steals something from everyone it touches.
Borrowing slightly from the title of her book, My Life Rearranged, Susan will share with her audience the impact her husband’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s had on their marriage. Overnight it seemed she was propelled into her new role as she moved from wife to person-in-charge and, eventually, full time caregiver. Susan will share her journey with vignettes, stories, readings, humor, and moments of raw honesty as she explores the issues of love, responsibility, duty, loss, self-preservation, and finding tomorrow.
Martha Rañón, is the Director of Education & Programs for Southern Caregiver Resource Center. Martha first became a caregiver to her great aunt who was 93 and had Dementia. With little knowledge on how to be a Caregiver, Martha reached out to Southern Caregiver Resource Center and became a client they taught her the importance of self-care and knowing what the resources are. Martha now teaches classes and puts together workshops and conferences throughout San Diego County with the hopes of empowering caregivers everywhere to let them know that they don’t have to do this alone. That there is a network of care that is out there for you and you can access it and learn from others who are in the same situation.
Viki Kind is a clinical bioethicist, award winning author, and professional speaker. Her book, The Caregiver’s Path to Compassionate Decision Making: Making Choices For Those Who Can't, guides families and professionals who are making decisions for those who have lost capacity. Viki is known as “The People’s Bioethicist,” because she is a rare individual who bridges two worlds, that of the health care professional and of the family struggling to make the right decisions. Viki spends much of her time speaking at conferences out in the community teaching patients and family caregivers how to make better health, life and end-of-life decisions. She also lectures across the United States teaching professionals to have integrity, compassion and to improve care through better communication and ethical frameworks. She is an honorary board member of the Well Spouse Association and has been a caregiver for many years for six members of her family.
Lori Johnson RN, MSN, OCN, AHN-BC