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Caregiver burnout is a significant concern, health experts say — and some states are now moving to offer free online support to family members.

The New York State Office on the Aging (NYSOFA) and the Association on Aging in New York (AgingNY) recently announced a partnership with Trualta, a company that provides a web-based academic skills training and support platform.

The partnership supports those caring for their elderly family members or friends at home.

Loved ones can suffer from conditions ranging from Alzheimer’s and dementia to developmental disabilities, stroke recovery, diabetes and more.

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The platform also addresses caregiver wellness — and how to help a person go home from the hospital, a spokesperson for Trualta told Fox News Digital.

According to a news release from the New York State Office of the Aging, the initiative comes at no cost to New York State residents who provide unpaid care for a family member or friend.

A person with Alzheimer's is comforted by a caring person.  New York, North Carolina, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin and New Hampshire now offer online advice and tips for residents caring for a loved one or friend with dementia.

A person with Alzheimer’s is comforted by a caring person. New York, North Carolina, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin and New Hampshire now offer online advice and tips for residents caring for a loved one or friend with dementia.
(AP Photo/Charles Dharpak, File)

New York joins five other states that are offering free virtual assistance to individuals providing unpaid care to family members or friends in those states.

North Carolina, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin and New Hampshire currently offer the online platform for free to statewide residents.

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Thanks to county, state providers and community-based organizations, the Trualta program is available for free in parts of 27 other states, a company spokesperson told Fox News Digital.

Efforts are underway to make it available in all 50 states.

‘a big blow’

Caregiver Leda Rosenthal told Fox News Digital that her mother was 19 when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at age 57.

“It was a big shock that someone who was being cared for was taking care of my mother,” Rosenthal said.

In New York, a woman's mother was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's at age 57.  The caregiver's daughter described her experiences on Fox News Digital, including how her mother "Used to wander" And accidentally turn on the stove.

In New York, a woman’s mother was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s at age 57. The caregiver’s daughter described her experiences to Fox News Digital, including how her mother “keeps wandering” and accidentally leaves the stove on.
(iStock)

She described the difficult journey a person goes through when taking on the role of a family member’s caregiver.

“Different challenges started to emerge,” she said.

She noted that her mother “would wander. We have two big dogs, so she would get lost in the neighborhood with them.”

She also said that her mother would accidentally leave the stove on.

“Caregivers are already feeling socially isolated — and when the pandemic hits, that makes it harder to connect with others.”

Rosenthal told Fox News Digital that the most taxing situation for her was the behavioral challenges she experienced with her mother.

“My mom’s agitation, her anxiety — she started hallucinating, too,” Rosenthal said.

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She said she searched the web for hours to try to find ways to successfully communicate with her mother.

“You get a lot of misinformation online,” she told Fox Digital News.

There is also social isolation for those who are at home and suffer from dementia or Alzheimer's.

There is also social isolation for those who are at home and suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s.
(iStock)

In addition to experiencing the behavioral problems of their loved ones, Rosenthal said there is a social isolation aspect of the work they do.

“Caregivers are already feeling socially isolated — and when the pandemic hit, it made it difficult to connect with others,” she said.

Rosenthal decided to use her technology skills and personal circumstances to create a career path helping the elderly stay at home and help their caregivers.

Caregivers can type in the condition or symptom they’re dealing with — and a selection of skills training information is offered.

She eventually met with Jonathan Davis, CEO of Trualta, headquartered in St. Joseph, Missouri—and became the company’s director of growth.

Rosenthal describes the website as offering a menu of options.

Instead of selecting a movie type from a menu of movies, for example, caregivers might type in a condition or symptom they’re dealing with — and a selection of skills training information will be offered.

Caregivers of family or friends with cognitive problems need to learn coping skills to deal with the challenges they face.

Caregivers of family or friends with cognitive problems need to learn coping skills to deal with the challenges they face.
(iStock)

You might say, for example, “Your loved one is wandering,” she said.

Then, you can be provided with “steps to reduce wandering, broken down by different tasks,” Rosenthal said, describing the specific tips offered.

While caregivers don’t need to understand the science behind their loved one’s illness, they do need to learn coping skills to cope with the challenges the disease poses for the person they care for, Rosenthal said.

“What’s important as a caregiver is how you can respond to create a better experience for your loved one and for yourself to reduce your burnout.”

Caregivers, she said, “don’t know what skills go into the movement—but they know the problem they’re having.”

Rosenthal said that “what’s important as a caregiver is how you can respond to create a better experience for your loved one and for yourself to reduce your burnout.”

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Joel Salinas, assistant professor of neurology in the department of neurology at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, told Fox News Digital, “A diagnosis of dementia is not just a diagnosis for the patient — it’s a diagnosis for the patient’s family and anyone else. Providing informal care.”

He also said, “Caregiving can put a significant strain on the ability to work and take care of oneself — and there is also a great deal of uncertainty about many aspects of caregiving and what to expect. There are serious health and financial issues. This type of caregiving has consequences, so early And getting consistent support can be critical.”

Online interventions "can help informal caregivers access valuable techniques they can apply in their daily lives."

Online interventions “can help informal caregivers access valuable techniques they can apply in their daily lives.”
(iStock)

A Trualta spokesperson said the e-platform provides mature students with the ability to scan and quickly find answers from evidence-based sourcing.

A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease Reports in 2021 found that 84.4% of participants who accessed the Trualta platform reported using skills learned through the online platform.

The study also found that skills related to behavior management were used the most (60%) – while more than half of caregivers reported spending more time on self-care.

New York State has more than four million caregivers who provide nearly 2.7 billion hours of unpaid care.

According to the study, caregiver burden scores also decreased after people used Trualta for 30 days.

“This highlights the potential of an online intervention to assist informal caregivers with valuable techniques they can apply in their daily lives,” the study’s authors said in a peer-reviewed published report.

Commenting on that study, Rosenthal told Fox News Digital that “when caregivers are introduced to Trualta, in just 30 days we see the following: a 12% reduction in the severity of behavioral symptoms, a 10% reduction in distress, and a 30% improvement in caregiver satisfaction.”

Caregivers of loved ones across America can "reduce stress, increase self-confidence and reduce loneliness."

Caregivers of loved ones across America can “reduce stress, increase self-confidence and reduce loneliness.”
(Ben Margot/AP Photo)

Previous studies have also shown that when a family member is trained to care for a loved one at home, that training can reduce hospitalizations for the loved one.

Rosenthal said that when a family member is trained in prevention and recognizing the different signs and symptoms of a condition, for example — such as a urinary tract infection — earlier treatment can be provided.

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This can help prevent more serious cases, such as sepsis, that require hospitalization.

New York State has more than four million caregivers who provide nearly 2.7 billion hours of unpaid care.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, most caregivers reported problems with burnout.

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Sixty-one percent of these caregivers worry about caring for a loved one, the news release said, while 70 percent reported experiencing at least one mental health symptom during the pandemic.

Jonathan Davis, CEO of Trualta, said in a statement to Fox News Digital that many caregivers have no prior experience and don’t know where to turn for help.

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“Trulta’s mission is to empower family caregivers by providing them with valuable training and support resources they can access from the comfort of home. Our e-learning platform has been proven to help caregivers reduce stress, build confidence and feel less alone,” said Davis. . . .”