Q: What is ACTS 2?

A: The African-American Alzheimer’s Caregiver Training and Support 2 Project or ACTS 2 is a faith-based, skills-building and support program designed to meet the needs of distressed family caregivers of older adults with dementia. ACTS 2 consists of 12 sessions, 7 group sessions and 5 individual sessions, delivered over the telephone in the homes of family caregivers. Each caregiver is assigned to a group with two other caregivers led by a trained lay pastoral care facilitator. Each caregiver receives a training guidebook covering key caregiving skills, such as relaxation, effective thinking, and problem-solving, integrated with faith sharing and prayer. The training is very practical with a special emphasis on goal setting and improving the caregivers’ spiritual, emotional and physical well-being.

Q: What does “a caregiver of a loved one with dementia” mean?

A: We are enrolling caregivers with a biological, marital or personal relationship to the care recipient with dementia. ACTS 2 is not a training program for professional caregivers.

Q: How do I qualify to enroll in the ACTS 2 caregiver training program?

A: There are three basic criteria for enrollment. We will ask you these questions:

  1. Are you a caregiver of a loved one with dementia for a minimum of six hours a week?
  2. Has your loved one received a diagnosis of some type of progressive dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease or vascular dementia, from a medical doctor?
  3. Are you experiencing significant stress in your caregiving role?

Q: I think my loved one might have Alzheimer’s disease, but s/he does not have an official diagnosis: Can I enroll in ACTS 2 now?

A: We have a brief questionnaire, only eight questions, that gives an indication of how likely your loved one will receive the diagnosis from a medical doctor. If you meet the criteria listed above, we can enroll you now. However, we do require you to pursue the diagnosis and sign a release for the physician to forward the diagnosis to us.

Q: How will I know if I am experiencing stress in my caregiving role?

A: There are multiple indicators of stress. Are you feeling down? Is your energy level below normal? Are you more irritable or short-tempered? Are you experiencing changes in sleep or eating habits? We will ask you these questions to determine the level of stress you are experiencing now.

Q: Do I have to pay for the ACTS 2 caregiver training?

A: No, you do not have to pay for the training. ACTS 2 is free of charge. You will receive up to $90.00 for completing the training and the questionnaires associated with the ACTS 2 program.

Q: What do you mean by questionnaires? Do I have to answer a lot of questions?

A: All the questions we ask are designed to make the caregiver guidebook, group sessions and teaching process better for future caregivers. We regularly evaluate the effectiveness of ACTS 2 to ensure the program is meeting the needs of African-American dementia family caregivers. Your feedback is an essential element of our quality assurance program to maximize the benefits of the ACTS 2 faith-based, skills-building and support program. All questionnaire responses and background information will remain confidential.

Q: Other people help me with the caregiving. Can I share what I am learning with them?

A: Yes, please share with others the skills you are learning in ACTS 2. However, caregivers participating in ACTS 2 sessions promise not to share personal information about other group members with individuals outside the group. What is shared in the group stays in the group.

Q: Can other people who are helping me sit in on the telephone sessions?

A: Other people who share caregiving responsibilities with group participants are not permitted to participate in the ACTS 2 telephone sessions to protect the privacy of group members.

Q: What does it mean that the sessions are delivered by telephone?

A: We use a toll-free telephone system to deliver all ACTS 2 sessions. You do not need to have long distance service to participate in the program.