University of South Florida

USF Health-based Alzheimer’s Caregivers Podcast posts 100th episode

Caring for a loved one with dementia can be overwhelming and isolating. Never was that more true than during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eileen Poiley understands that challenge well, having dedicated more than 35 years to educating caregivers at the USF Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Center. When the world stopped, she knew this important work could not.

Poiley launched the Alzheimer’s Caregivers Podcast in May 2021 to offer practical guidance to caregivers where and when they need it. As the show posts its 100th episode this month, this resource has helped more than 7,000 unique listeners around the world with downloads from six continents.

Eileen Poiley.

“Some caregivers are at the end of their ropes, and they don’t know what to do,” Poiley said. “We help caregivers deal with the challenges from a non-medication perspective, as there are a lot of behaviors that medication can’t change.”

The podcast features 30-minute episodes on a wide range of topics affecting families dealing with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, including understanding short-term memory loss, managing the challenges of daily life, reducing safety risks, frequently asked questions and more.

Podcast producer Scott Huetteman, whose mother has Alzheimer’s disease, encouraged Eileen to create the podcast after hearing one of her presentations in person.

“There are a lot of ways to get information out, and the challenge with caregivers is that there is so much they need to know,” Huetteman said. “The podcast is a great way caregivers can listen to episodes any time of the day or night at their convenience.”

Poiley agrees that caregivers need a large volume of information, but that comprehensive books that cover a wide range of topics aren’t typically useful for caregivers. The podcast format allows them to pick the topic they need at the right moment.

Eileen Poiley.

One caregiver who has listened to all 100 episodes—several many times—said he was in a dire situation looking for help as he cared for his family member. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s five years before he reached out for support beyond medical care.

“I wish that I could reconstruct the morning I discovered the Institute,” said the caregiver, who asked to remain anonymous. “I had been looking through articles I had collected in a file over the previous five years, as her needs were getting well past what I could provide. Things were getting really emotionally intense for both of us.”

The Pinellas County caregiver became hopeful upon discovering the nearby virtual Alzheimer’s support programs at USF, along with the podcast series, through a Google search.

“It was like Eileen was here in the home, how she described what we were going through at the time,” said the caregiver. “She was spot on, and I could implement what I was learning and see almost immediate results.”

“My loved one and I are now both much calmer, in a better place, all because I listened to the podcasts. Eileen identified behaviors to watch for, explained them, and gave me strategies for how to respond and how to cope.”

Alzheimer’s disease is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States, and one in three seniors dies with dementia.

To support Alzheimer’s caregiver education at USF Health, give online at or contact Dan Minor at

Story by Davina Gould, USF Foundation.

Network-wide options by YD - Freelance Wordpress Developer