Which is the face of a caregiver? Choose any one or more. Which did you choose? Sylvia? Elaine? Stacey? Joyce? Jeremy? Connie? or Katie?

All of these attended a workshop in late January sponsored by the Roanoke area Local Office on Aging and facilitated by Russell Schiavone, an AARP VA Community Ambassador and one of our “go to” presenters of the Prepare to Care seminar.

If you chose one or all of the seven you are correct. When you look in the mirror, do you see a caregiver? The odds are you may, and if not now, perhaps later be a caregiver. How do we prepare and learn how to cope with what may be facing us? Many of us put off thinking about it as if we can avoid any future unpleasantness. All of those pictured above have been or are caregivers, some deep in the throes for a long time. One of the people pictured has been a caregiver since she was seventeen years old. Others of the younger faces are new to the caregiver role. One couple is already taking care of one of their mothers while facing the imminent need to care for the other mother of the couple. They came to the presentation somewhat panicked about where to turn for the support they know they are going to need.

Russell Schiavone, presenting on how to Prepare to Care

Russell Schiavone’s Prepare to Care presentation focused on a five-step plan to face the future.

  1. First is to start the conversation
  2. Form your team
  3. Make a plan
  4. Find support
  5. Care for Yourself

Those attending the session were most interested in finding support. It is very clear that the Local Office on Aging, the facility in which the session occurred, is a great place to start asking questions about services available. Russell underscored the plethora of information available on the AARP website. See direct links below.

The question was raised about whether there is a caregivers support group for caregivers of people with health issues other than Alzheimer’s Disease. There is none in the Valley or shall we say there wasnone. As a result of that session and the caregivers’ support group discussion, a member of the Roanoke Area Leadership Team, Connie Scaggs, (pictured above) has pursued collaborating with a local health care facility to develop a caregivers support group. The Harmony Collection (formerly known as Pheasant Ridge) has planned to host the support group in collaboration with AARP. The meetings are tentatively scheduled to begin April 23, 2019, at 10:00 A.M. with meetings to follow on the 4th Tuesday of each month. It is truly amazing what can be done when dedicated people with creative ideas put their heads together.

Click here for more information about the Caregiver Brunch on  April 23, 2019, at 10:00 A.M

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