The Psychology Clinic on the Georgia Southern University Statesboro Campus will provide free dementia screenings and psychotherapy for caregivers thanks to a $10,000 donation from Rockin’ Out Alzheimer’s Disease (ROAD). The services will be provided in person and virtually.
“Caregiving for loved ones is stressful,” Psychology Clinic Director Amy Luna said. “I often reference the title of the book The 36-Hour Day to highlight the demands placed upon caregivers, many of whom are sandwiched between generations, meaning they may be providing care to older adults and children or grandchildren simultaneously.”
Psychotherapy recipients will meet weekly or every other week with a doctoral student therapist enrolled in their second year of Georgia Southern’s Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology program. Student therapists perform under the supervision of Luna who is also a licensed psychologist.
“Psychotherapy can help relieve distress by offering strategies to help others cope with challenges and thrive in the face of adversity,” Luna said. “Telehealth is a great resource for those concerned about spreading COVID-19 to vulnerable populations like older adults as it minimizes contact with others.”
Dementia screenings will be offered later this semester. Luna said it’s important to find dementia in a patient as early as possible.
“Early detection of dementia is important, as the progression of the disease can be halted or slowed with medical intervention, depending on the type of dementia,” she said. “Dementia occurs regardless of pandemic status; therefore, services should be sought out when symptoms are detected.”
The in-person and virtual options are screenings only, so no diagnosis will be provided. However, the in-person screening will be more thorough than the telehealth screening. If a patient needs internet access or a webcam, the psychology clinic will provide a tablet and hotspot for those lacking the required technology.
“As the services are free, this opportunity is ideal for those who do not have health insurance or those whose health insurance is difficult to access due to cost,” Luna said.
ROAD is committed to raising and distributing funds that have a direct effect on Alzheimer’s and dementia care in Southeast Georgia. The organization has worked with CBSS, as well as other areas of Georgia Southern and the surrounding communities, to raise money and provide services in the past.
College of Behavioral and Social Sciences (CBSS) Dean Ryan Shroeder said the opportunities provided by the donation from ROAD aligns directly with the college’s mission of service.
“The mission of CBSS is to use our expertise to make a real world impact on our communities,” Schroeder said. “The dementia screening program is a perfect illustration of the mission of the college, as we are using our expertise in dementia and elder care in the college to make a positive impact on our communities.”