Three major challenges in behavioral health — dementia, delirium, and depression — will take center stage June 21 at a training in Hood River.

The event starts at 1:30 p.m. at Providence Down Manor, 1815 Sterling Place.

Hosts include the Aging in the Gorge Alliance (AGA), Dementia Friendly in the Gorge, and Greater Oregon Behavioral Health, Inc. (GOBHI).

Presenter Nirmala Dhar will lead participants in an educational presentation about the “Three D’s.” Dhar, a licensed clinical social worker, brings 30 years of experience in the behavioral health field.

Attendees will learn the following:

Tina Castañares, MD, a member of Aging in the Gorge Alliance, said, “The older we get, the more our health is challenged. Both depression and dementia can be tragic, especially when we are unprepared to support people with these conditions — and their caregivers.

Registration for the “Three D’s” training is required. Call Kris Boler, GOBHI Older Adult Behavioral Health manager, at 541-298-2101 or email to register.

“Trainings like this can help us all be smarter, better prepared, and more realistic as well as compassionate. Also, most people don’t know about treatments for these conditions — or that delirium is, by definition, reversible,” she said.

Castañares explained how the AGA became inspired to support these trainings.

“The AGA recognized from the start that public and professional education would be the keys to improving our communities’ services to older people and their caregivers,” Castañares said. “As we all learn more together about these subjects, our creativity and care flourish in meeting the challenges we all face today.”

Discussing aging in the Mid-Columbia region, Castañares said, “Within just a few years, one (or more) in every five people here will be over the age of 65,” and the fastest growing U.S. population are people 100 years and older.

GOBHI encourages social workers, case managers, caregivers, counselors, nurses, certified nursing assistants, home care workers, and foster home providers to attend the training. Anyone who cares for, lives with, or supports someone with dementia is invited.

Castañares encouraged newcomers to, “Get better informed about what can be done to prevent, treat and sometimes reverse these conditions, and what needs to happen to best support affected older adults and the people who love them.”

The AGA is a Mid-Columbia group, established in 2015, with a purpose to identify, discuss, and advocate for the needs of elders and caregivers.

Dementia Friendly in The Gorge is part of a nationwide endeavor to create dementia-friendly communities in which people living with dementia — and their loved ones — can live with dignity and independence.

Greater Oregon Behavioral Health, Inc., headquartered in The Dalles, is a nonprofit managed care organization that administers behavioral health services under the Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid). GOBHI is affiliated with Eastern Oregon Coordinated Care Organization and Columbia Pacific Coordinated Care Organization. GOBHI partners with Oregon Health Authority in the Older Adult Behavioral Health Initiative.

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