Family caregivers to get day off

Posted: Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Often, people who care for family members or friends who are chronically ill, frail or disabled don’t take time out for themselves.

In recognition of November being National Family Caregivers Month, caregivers on the Kenai Peninsula have been invited to a Caregiver Appreciation Day on Saturday at the Soldotna Senior Citizens Center.

Beginning at 10:30 a.m., workshops will be conducted for caregivers on topics ranging from appropriate use of body mechanics and rehabilitation to Medicaid and Medicare.

While the many workshops are in session, caregivers also will be able to visit 26 information booths sponsored by area senior centers, Heritage Place, Lifeline and the diabetic education program from Central Peninsula General Hospital and Central Emergency Services.

Home medical equipment will be exhibited, as well, according to Connie Stephens, outreach specialist for the Family Caregiver Support Program in Soldotna.

Family caregivers provide more than 80 percent of all home-care services, Stephens said, helping a spouse, children, parents, siblings, partners or friends with nursing support, basic living functions such as personal hygiene and activities of daily living.

Stephens said the national caregiver program has found that many caregivers believe taking care of their own needs is selfish.

Caregivers have a right to occasionally get angry, be depressed or express other difficult feelings, she said.

In addition to providing helpful information at the open house Saturday, Stephens said the purpose of the event is to provide a day filled with fun activities for the caregivers.

“We will have free refreshments provided through the senior center, and hourly door prizes will be awarded,” Stephens said.

It is open to the public.

“There are four kinds of people in the world: those who have been caregivers, those who currently are caregivers, those who will be caregivers and those who will need caregivers,” Stephens said.

“None of us will be excluded,” she said.

For more information of caregivers and Caregiver Appreciation Day, people may call 262-1280 or toll-free (866) 776-8210.

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