This year, the theme is “Adapting and Thriving as a Caregiver.”
Over the years, we’ve learned a lot about caregivers and what they sacrifice to care for others. In the health care system, we often think of doctors and nurses as caregivers, but what about the family members who care for loved ones, despite the needs of their own lives, jobs and responsibilities? National research has shown that caregivers are everywhere and their numbers are growing. A bit of the data reveals that 66% of older persons with chronic disabilities are cared for by a family member; 65 million people provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend each year; and 471,000 grandparents over 65 years old have primary responsibility for their grandchildren.
As the presenters and attendees come together on Nov. 2, we will look at the resources available in our community; the options that can be implemented for support; and the emotional self-care that is needed as a caregiver to prevent burnout, resentment and guilt related to the commitment to care for someone.
There is a wonderful nine-item list called the “Caregiver’s Bill of Rights.” It says that as a caregiver, I have the right to take care of myself, which is not an act of selfishness. Taking care of myself enables me to take better care of my loved one. I can seek help from others, even though my loved one may object, as I recognize the limits of my own endurance and strength. I have the right to get angry, to be depressed and to express other difficult feelings appropriately.
While the process of caregiving can be rewarding, there can also be stressors and hardships that are worthy of discussion and support.
If you would like to attend this FREE community event, please call me, Miriam Lacher, at 917-1779, to reserve your spot. Registration starts at 9:30 a.m., Nov. 2 and the program takes place from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Hospital Auditorium.