KPB Mayor John Williams presents Connie Stephens with Caregiver Appreciation Day proclamation.
Newly elected Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor John Williams took the occasion of National Family Caregiver Month to issue his first proclamation which he read at the regular Soldotna Chamber of Commerce luncheon meeting last week. The Mayor then presented Patricia Stringer, program coordinator for the National Family Caregiver Support Program of Alaska with a copy of the document. Stringer was on hand to tell Chamber members about the activities planned for Caregivers Appreciation Day held at the Soldotna Senior Center Saturday, “We had workshops all day with 27 area healthcare providers who demonstrated their wares and answered questions about their services,” said Stringer. According to Stringer everyone is a potential caregiver and she encourages everyone to plan ahead, “The only way you can plan ahead is to inform yourself of the services that are available and that was our goal for Caregivers Day was to inform people of what is available here locally.”
Mayor Williams said that he was surprised to discover that there are over 450 caregivers on the Kenai Peninsula, “These caregivers range in age from 18 to 80 and they are caregivers of family members as well as a wide variety of people in our community who need assistance with their everyday lives.” Stringer says that her agency has increased the number of caregivers on the Peninsula by 150 over the last year and that family caregivers provide more than 80% of all home-care services. Chamber members were also heartened to hear Stringer report that Alaska ranks at the top of states in providing services to its senior citizens. Williams said he believes that is due to the aging population of Alaska, “We are a community that grew up taking care of our own early on and have been planning for our own distant years as well,” Williams added that there are 8,000 social security recipients on the Peninsula and that by the year 2020 it is predicted that there will be 24,000 recipients of social security on the Peninsula.
In concluding his proclamation Mayor Williams stated, “Family caregivers deserve our lasting gratitude and respect. This month, as we honor the many contributions that family caregivers make to the quality of our national life, let us resolve to work through our community, religious, social business and other organizations to offer programs and services that will provide caregivers the support and encouragement they need to carry out their vital responsibilities.” For more information about the National Family Caregiver Support Program Alaska call 262-1280 during regular business hours.
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