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What is SHARE?

The Camarillo Health Care District offers SHARE, a program for people experiencing early- to mid-stage dementia, and their caregivers. The acronym stands for support, health, activities, resources and education.

A trained health coach engages in discussions about symptoms, communication and healthy activities, while helping clients plan for the future, keeping the client’s own values and preferences in mind for their life as the disease progresses.

The program, based on research by the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging and funded through a grant from the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation, consists of five sessions with a trained health coach, with an optional sixth session for family to be included.

They work on specific goals, topics and exercises that help build a shared plan that they can walk away with at the end. A care plan will be developed that reflects the person's personal preferences.

To participate in the program, please call Care Services Director Luis Morales at 388-1952, ext. 107, to schedule your individual sessions.

How SHARE helped one local family 

Fran and Nancy turn to the Camarillo Health Care District and its SHARE program to develop a care plan.

Sisters find path forward after participating in District's SHARE program

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Sisters Nancy and Fran.

Nancy describes her sister Fran as the perfect child. She always made good grades, followed the rules and blossomed into a social butterfly. So when Fran started self-isolating and was often confused, Nancy was concerned.

The concern intensified when Fran, 70, started having trouble finding words, finishing sentences and fell a few times. Fran initially dismissed this as aging or lingering effects of a recent surgery, but when she had two car accidents in less than a month, everyone knew it was time to delve deeper. Fran was eventually diagnosed with frontal lobe inflammation and mild cognitive loss.

Their lives changed further as they determined Fran should relocate closer to Nancy. Nancy reduced her work to part-time to help her sister find the housing, resources and support she would need. One of the resources she found was the Camarillo Health Care District’s SHARE program. SHARE stands for Support, Health, Activities, Resources and Education, and assists people mild cognitive impairment or early- to mid-stage dementia, and their caregivers.

The SHARE program, based on research by the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging and funded through a grant from the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation, consists of five weekly sessions with an optional sixth session for family to be included. A trained health coach guides focused discussions while helping clients plan for the future with the client’s own values and preferences as priorities.

“They work on specific goals that help build a custom care plan,” said Lynette Harvey, RN, Clinical Services director for the District. “The idea is that when you receive a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment, dementia or related cognitive issues, you plan early in the journey.”

“People end up in crisis mode when there has been little planning, and SHARE facilitates communication at an earlier stage which allows the person to voice their own values and preferences.”

The sisters worked with Mariana Gutierrez, the District’s health promotion coordinator.

“One of the major benefits was Mariana’s calmness,” Nancy said. “She was direct without being forceful.

“It was comforting to build this plan together because it was a tough time and Mariana’s support made it easier.”

Fran appreciates the opportunity to work with a professional to help guide her through questions about her future and talk to family and friends about carrying out her wishes.

“It’s good to have a plan so when the time comes that I can’t, Nancy knows what I want,” she said.

Nancy says they now have the tools in place for whatever the future brings, and Fran feels at ease knowing that a possible dementia diagnosis doesn’t mean life is over.

What is dementia? 

Dementia describes a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory and thinking skills. Symptoms can become so severe as to affect someone’s ability to perform everyday activities. Signs can include difficulty communicating, getting lost, becoming frustrated, exhibiting confusion, repeating words and phrases, poor judgment and unusual or inappropriate behavior. Stigma can lead to self-isolation.

“I think we were lucky to find the SHARE program so early in the diagnosis,” Nancy said.

Fran has lived in Ventura for six months now and has made supportive friends, and lives within walking distance of her sister’s home, shopping and pharmacy since she no longer drives.

The network of support is vital to the plan they created though the SHARE program. “Developing the plan gave her the courage to ask people if they would be supportive,” Nancy said. “And we found out Californians really have a heart of gold.”

For more information about the SHARE program, call 805-388-1952, ext. 107.


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