Lisa Whitmore Davis 2015

By Lisa Whitmore Davis, AARP Michigan

If you aren’t currently a caregiver, chances are you either have been or will be one.

In Michigan, there are about 2 million caregivers at any given point during the calendar year. They perform a great labor of love 1.4 billion hours a year and provide unpaid care worth more than $15 billion.

This silent army of unsung heroes needs information, emotional support and access to resources.

In recognition of this, AARP Michigan offers a Caregiving Resource Workshop over the next few months in Detroit.

The free series will include nutrition and exercise demonstrations; interactive presentations on how to relieve stress and protect your health as a caregiver; information on local resources available to support caregivers; resources available to veterans; and opportunities for positive and supportive social interaction with other caregivers.

The workshops will run 2-4 p.m. on June 18, July 16, August 20 and September 24 at the Plymouth United Church of Christ, 600 E. Warren Ave., in Detroit.

The June workshop will focus on nutrition and exercise for the caregiver. The July session features a discussion of veterans’ benefits and the caregiver returning to work. In August, spiritual support for caregivers will be explored. And the September workshop will address life reimagined for caregivers.

Meijer pharmacy will be on site at each session to talk about medicine and the caregiver, and navigating the pharmacy for themselves or their loved ones.

Those interested in the free workshop series must register at 1-877-926-8300 or visit www.aarp.org/mi for more information.

Caregivers know that their work has gotten harder and more complicated even as families have more and more demands on their time. They have no roadmap. Through hard work and dedication, they figure out the answers every single day.

They don’t think of themselves as caregivers — they think they are sons and daughters just doing what families do — but they can feel lonely and isolated and not know where to turn. That’s why AARP is offering this series.

Those who can’t participate in this program can check out the AARP Caregiving Resource Center. The Center provides an easy way to learn about local services and to join an online community of caregivers. Caregivers may feel alone, but they are part of a vast community of dedicated souls who are walking along the same uphill path. Just click on www.aarp.org/caregiving

 

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