Livingston County Celebrates National Family Caregiver Month
Thursday, November 6, 2014
It is no coincidence that National Family Caregivers Month occurs in the same month as Veterans Day. Both celebrate people who have and do the most heroic feats in their role as soldier or caregiver, including making life and death decisions and selflessly serving their community, as well as defending the safety and well-being of their family members with all their heart.
What is a family Caregiver? According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, someone who gives weekly care for a chronically ill, aging or disabled family member or friend every week. Does this describe you? If so, you are among the 66 million family caregivers in America. Why is the number so high and predicted to continue to grow? According to the CDC, one half of the US population has a chronic condition. Of the services needed by this segment of our population, 80% of them are provided by family caregivers who spend an average of 20.4 hours each week doing many of the following which may include; assisting with personal care such as bathing, medications, transportation, paying the bills, cleaning, shopping, cooking and the list goes on. Many caregivers “go it alone” without consistent help from other family members. For all caregivers, the constant challenge of care giving is taking its’ toll. Some studies have indicated that caregiver stress can interfere with healing and many suffer from depression and anxiety.
To help alleviate caregiver’s burden and provide support, the Noyes Caregiver Resource Center started coordinating an annual Caregiver Celebration in 2010. The goal was to provide caregivers with a day to come together to learn, relax, and examine available resources. On November 1st, 100 people, including caregivers and local vendors, came out for the 5th Annual Caregiver Celebration at Celebrate Family Church in Leicester.
Over 30 community vendors were on hand to provide resources and support, along with a Matter of Balance coach from Lifespan who showed caregivers stretching & relaxation techniques. The Caregivers received a complimentary lunch and gifts donated by local merchants and vendors.
Teresa Galbier, President/CEO of the Rochester Alzheimer’s Association, was a guest speaker who provided valuable information on all their services and programs they are able to provide to support Livingston County Caregivers caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia illnesses.
The Keynote Speaker this year was Patricia Bomba, MD. Dr. Bomba helped caregivers learn how to live healthier and in turn live longer by following “The Ten Commandments of Healthy Living”. She discussed how nutritional needs change with age, how exercise helps keep you healthy, and how to manage medications and chronic illness. Most importantly, she taught how to turn the “10 Commandments” into “10 Commitments” for Healthy Living. Dr. Bomba also provided a workshop on Advance Care planning that provided education on Health Care Proxy, Living Will and MOLST forms. More information can be found on Dr. Bomba’s website at www.compassionandsupport.org/ to learn more on advance directives.
Many hands went into making this a memorable day for caregivers. This event would not be possible without the support and dedication of many contributors, donors, and volunteers! It is amazing to see our community come together to support great events like this that benefit those who need it most.
The Caregiver Resource Center is sponsored by the Livingston County Office for Aging and is located at Noyes Hospital. Services include: information and assistance, Caregiver education, Alzheimer Support Groups, monthly Caregiver newsletter, and companion care for in-home respite care. For questions, you can contact the Caregiver Resource Center at 335-4358 or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org