Comfort Keepers of Secaucus and Nutley Launches Proprietary Training Program for Caregivers in Response to Rise in Alzheimer’s among Senior Population

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Home Health Care Agency Trains Aides to Care Specifically for Seniors with Alzheimer’s Dementia; Program will Enhance Skills to Provide More Targeted Support for Patients and Families

Approximately 5.2 million Americans are currently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, many of them senior citizens. In fact, one in nine adults over 65 years old have Alzheimer’s and this skyrockets to one-third of the population aged 85 and older. To meet the increasing need of seniors with Alzheimer’s disease, Comfort Keepers of Secaucus-North Bergen, a home health care agency, has developed and launched a specialized training program for its caregivers.

The course, created by agency co-owner Louise Munsch, provides more in-depth education and tools for working with seniors who have Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Munsch and business partners Eydie Shapiro and Kristina Munsch offer in-home elder care services throughout Hudson and Essex counties as well as parts of Bergen County. In addition to Secaucus-North Bergen they also operate a Lyndhurst-Nutley office (

“Today, everyone knows someone who has been affected by Alzheimer’s disease in some way,” said Munsch. “By enhancing their skills, our in-home caregivers will be able to better serve clients afflicted with this disease as well as support the families.”

Alzheimer’s robs individuals of their cognitive abilities and patients’ bodies gradually lose their ability to function. Munsch noted that family caregivers also suffer; they become exhausted, physically and emotionally, as they struggle to juggle the demands of their everyday lives with the growing concerns and expanding care their loved ones need.

The Alzheimer’s Association provides some sobering statistics:

  •     Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.
  •     One in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s disease.
  •     Another American develops Alzheimer’s every 68 seconds.
  •     In 2050 an American will develop the disease every 33 seconds; the number of those afflicted by then could be as high as 16 million.

These numbers mean that in-home caregivers will need more specialized training to help clients and their families to better cope with the disease, and families of seniors with Alzheimer’s and other dementias will need more support.

Comfort Keepers employees who go through the Alzheimer’s training program will attend classes, view presentations, participate in case studies and be tested at the end of each module. The modules cover a range of issues including:

  •     Various symptoms associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
  •     The different stages of the disease.
  •     Changes in the senior’s behavior through these stages.
  •     How to distinguish between depression and Alzheimer’s.
  •     Therapeutic activities for the different stages of dementia.
  •     Practical skills to deal with seniors with dementia.

Upon successful completion of the entire course, participants will receive a certificate signed by the agency’s registered nurse attesting to their training.

“This certification will indicate that our Comfort Keepers caregivers possess additional insights and skills to better support the families who turn to us for help managing these debilitating conditions,” said Munsch.

A Commitment to Alzheimer’s Support
Munsch and Shapiro are Alzheimer’s and dementia care experts with a deep commitment to helping patients and families in the Alzheimer’s community. “We know that every client with Alzheimer’s behaves and presents differently, and that over time, their physical and emotional needs change,” said Shapiro. “Sometimes, that decline can be sudden and steep. Therefore, we feel it is crucial that our home health aides and companion caregivers be better prepared to help clients remain safe, happy and independent for as long as possible.”

In 2011, the partners were trained by the Alzheimer’s Association on how to start and facilitate a caregiver support group specifically for families of Alzheimer’s patients; their group meets on the first Monday of each month at the Secaucus Public Library.

“Families want to keep their loved ones in familiar and comfortable surroundings for as long as possible. However, the burden that Alzheimer’s disease places on them is enormous,” said Munsch. “This in-depth training enables our caregivers to relieve some of that burden while providing the high level of care we are known for.”

For more information about its in-home senior care or its Alzheimer’s-specific services, contact Eydie Shapiro at (201) 340-2238 or visit

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Eydie Shapiro

Caryn Starr-Gates
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