Anyone who provides care for a dependent adult family member knows how stressful that 24-hour role can be.
So who supports the caregivers?
Where do they derive some much-needed assistance, respite and answers?
And for those so entrenched with their ongoing responsibilities, do they even grasp how important it is to take care of themselves so they can keep taking care of others?
On Saturday June 20, the Supportive Services Department of the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center will provide a free four-hour symposium geared for addressing these questions while providing medical information and care-giving resources.
To be held in the Center's dining room from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Caregiver Resource Day will empower attendees with news about the latest research and therapies in treating Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, presented by leading scientists in those special fields. A discussion on care-giving as well as an array of care-giving-related vendors, breakfast and drawings is also on tap.
SuzAnn Nelsen, Senior Center Director of Supportive Services says Caregiver Resource Day provides an abundant educational and therapeutic opportunity for caregivers.
"Caregivers endure tremendous psychological and physical strains and responsibilities. Their need for up-to-date medical and scientific news pertinent to the conditions of those they care for, as well as learning ways to protect their own well-being is crucial," she stated.
With Comfort Keepers In-Home Care as its title sponsor, the event will feature the following keynote speakers:
Joshua Grill, Ph.D., director of the Katherine and Benjamin Kagan Alzheimer's Disease Treatment Development Program at UCLA's Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer's Disease Research, who will discuss recent strides in Alzheimer's research, including clinical trials. (The leading cause of dementia, Alzheimer's destroys brain cells, causing problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Alzheimer's, which is eventually fatal, currently affects some 5.3 million Americans and accounts for nearly 10-million unpaid family caregivers in this nation. )
Research Scientist Dr. James Makous, who leads the Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) Program for Parkinson's at Boston Scientific Neuromodulation (BSN) in Valencia, will deliver an overview of Parkinson's research and an upcoming clinical trial expected to begin in 2010, as well as discuss pain management. (Also a progressive brain disorder, Parkinson's affects nerve cells, causing loss of the vital chemical, dopamine which allows for smooth, coordinated function of muscles and movement. Key signs of Parkinson's include shaking, slowness in moving, stiffness, and difficulty with balance. Parkinson's affects about 1.5 million Americans today, and some 60,000 new cases are diagnosed annually.)
Psychotherapist and mental health consultant Judith Harris, who facilitates numerous support groups at the Senior Center, will moderate the event and talk about the challenges associated with care-giving. True to Harris' penchant for identifying humor and silver linings amid life's potholes - or teaching people how to "suffer in style" as she calls it - the veteran therapist, teacher, and grief counselor will explore ways to find humor and meaning in care-giving.
Myles McNamara, owner of Comfort Keepers In-Home Care, will discuss the safety and peace-of-mind attainable through securing skilled, reliable, and professional care-giving help in the home.
With a complimentary breakfast provided by Pacifica Senior Living Santa Clarita, which offers independent and assisted living, the event will also feature an array of community resources and care-giving related vendors. Among them, Mobile Masseur Jim Vang will offer free, relaxing massages during program breaks.
"Caregiver Resource Day will empower everyone with information and tools, while recommending ways to stay healthy and best capable of providing that continued care," Nelsen said of the upcoming event.
Vendor and Sponsor Information
Caregiver Resource Day attendance is projected to be 75-125 people; generally most are family caregivers. As a sponsor you will receive: Your business name on 1,000 flyers that will be distributed throughout the community; business name listed in newspaper ad (check must be received by June 12 for ad deadline); business name in event program; choice of table location on first-come, first-served basis. (Event and vendor displays held in Senior Center's spacious dining room.) Sponsor levels are $500 (title) and $250 (platinum). Sponsorships go directly to offsetting seminar costs and helping with advertising expenses.
Vendors receive a table to promote their business, with business name listed in the program. Vendor tables cost $100 each, but can also be shared for $50 per vendor.
The SCV Senior Center is located at 22900 Market Street in Newhall. Respite care is available during Caregiver Resource Day but reservations must be made in advance to guarantee that assistance. For further information/registration contact SuzAnn Nelsen or Diana Sevanian at (661) 255-1588 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org , or fax at (661) 255-6069.