A 2-Day Training for Dementia Support Group Leaders



Speaker: Edward G. Shaw, MD, MA

Bio: Edward G. Shaw, MD, MA, is dually trained as a physician and mental health counselor. He was the primary care partner for his late wife Rebecca, who was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2007 at age 53 and died in 2016 after a 9-year journey. Ed was a practicing academic radiation oncologist for 23 years, specializing in the treatment of adults and children with brain cancer. In 2010, inspired by Rebecca’s journey, his medical interest shifted to dementia diagnosis and treatment, and with his additional training in mental health counseling, he founded the Memory Counseling Program in 2011, part of the Section on Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine and the Sticht Center on Healthy Aging and Alzheimer’s Prevention at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The Program serves individuals, couples, and families affected by Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia. He is the author of four books. Along with coauthors Deborah Barr and Dr. Gary Chapman, he wrote “Keeping Love Alive as Memories Fade: The 5 Love Languages and the Alzheimer’s Journey,” which describes his moving personal story of caring for Rebecca coupled with an innovative use of the 5 love languages in dementia counseling. He also wrote “The Dementia Care Partner’s Workbook,” a self-study guide for dementia care partners as well as a caregiver support group curriculum that provides understanding, education, and hope for the long journey of dementia caregiving from diagnosis through end-of-life. He has also co-authored two resources for support group leaders, “A Leader’s Manual for Dementia Care Partner Support Groups” and “A Support Group for People Living with Dementia: The Leader’s Manual.” Ed is now retired in order to devote more time to public speaking, educating, and encouraging seniors, people living with dementia and their care partners, and medical, mental health, and other healthcare professionals working in the fields of aging and dementia through his company, Empath Education (empatheducation.com). He resides in Winston-Salem with his wife Claire, who was an Alzheimer’s caregiver for her late husband, Jim. They have four adult children and four grandchildren.

Title of Program: Dementia Support Group Leader’s Training

Date of Program: February 16 and 17, 2023

Time: February 16 9am-4pm and February 17 9am-Noon

PowerPoint: Will be used to present didactic content; handout of PowerPoint slides will be provided to participants

Objectives: Goal(s) of the presentation:

  1. To differentiate companion versus treating as a support group leader
  2. To compare and contrast the 5 developmental phases of support groups
  3. To identify the basic and advanced counseling skills used in leading support groups for dementia care partners.
  4. To learn the 8 central needs of dementia care partners and understand how they form the framework of educational content for dementia care partner support groups.
  5. To observe the different elements of mindfulness theory and practice and apply them in a support group setting.
  6. To elucidate the elements of a typical support group session for dementia care partners as part of a sustainable support group curriculum/program.

Program Description: This comprehensive training is for mental health counselors, medical and other allied healthcare professionals, and lay-individuals interested in leading support groups for dementia care partners. The training will cover support group theory and practice, with didactic information presented via PowerPoint augmented with video segments from an actual support group Dr. Shaw and his staff led recently. The training experience will be limited to 16-20 participants who will form a small group in-and-of themselves. Using a dynamic teaching approach, Dr. Shaw will integrate the groups’ experience with leading support groups in addition to sharing his experience leading hundreds of groups involving thousands of members over the years.

A variety of mental health and other allied healthcare professionals lead (or have a desire to lead) support groups for dementia care partners given the growing incidence of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias in the U.S. Leaders may be social workers or licensed mental health counselors, nurses or nurse practitioners, physicians or physician assistants, physical, occupational, recreational, music, or speech therapists, as well as administrative professionals. Often the training for this diverse group does not include the theory and practice of leading support groups. This training will provide essential knowledge to equip novices and experienced individuals alike on how to competently and compassionately lead a support group for dementia care partners, as well as how to establish or enhance a sustainable support group program in diverse practice settings.

Thursday February 16: Basic Skills for the Support Group Leader

  • Companioning vs. treating 9-10am
  • The developmental phases of support groups 10-11am
  • Basic counseling skills 11am-12:30pm
  • Advanced counseling 1:30-3pm
  • Challenging participants 3-4pm

Friday February 17: Essential Elements and Curriculum

  • The 8 central needs of dementia care partners 9-10am
  • Mindfulness in support groups (SG) 10-10:30am
  • Essential elements of individual sessions 10:30-11:15am
  • Curriculum for a sustainable SG program 11:15am-12pm

Location: McGregor Baptist Church, Hope Building, 3750 Colonial Boulevard,
Fort Myers, FL 33966

Cost: $295, which includes copies of Dr. Shaw’s books The Dementia Care
Partner’s Workbook and A Leader’s Manual for Dementia Care Partner Support Groups, course handouts, snacks and beverages, and lunch on Thursday, February 16, generously provided by Shavon Chester from Cypress Living.

Continuing education credits: 9 hours

To register: E-mail Dr. Shaw at drshaw@empatheducation.com. He will provide all the necessary information to register and answer any questions you may have.
Attendance is limited to 16-20 participants, so enroll today!

Interested in a dementia support group leader’s training at your location? Dr. Shaw offers trainings like the one above for dementia care-partner support group leaders as well as leaders of support groups for people living with dementia. The training content can be adjusted for the care setting you work in. Contact Dr. Shaw at drshaw@empatheducation.com or using the form below.
Providing empathy-empowered education and training for dementia care partners and healthcare professionals.

Feel free to reach out to us.