Annual event supports and provides respite to those who care for older loved ones

EATONTOWN, NJ –Taking care of an elderly parent or loved one can be both an emotional and physical drain on caregivers and their families. That’s why it’s important for caregivers to care for themselves, even just for one day.

To help caregivers, the Monmouth County Office on Aging is sponsoring a free caregiver retreat from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 14 at the Sheraton Hotel on Route 35 North in Eatontown.

The program, designed for those who care for people over age 60, includes a continental breakfast, lunch and access to caregiver resources. Registration is required due to space limitations. Register by calling 732-431-7450.

“Many people do not consider themselves caregivers,” said Freeholder John P. Curley, liaison to the County’s Office on Aging. “Yet, when they think about all they do for a loved one and how much time they spend doing it, they realize that they are caregivers. They do it because that’s what families do for the people they love.”

“We teach caregivers how to care for themselves as they are caring for someone else,” said Colleen Smith, the County’s caregiver specialist. “That’s important because if you don’t have the energy or a good frame of mind to care for yourself, you’re not going to be able to take care of someone else.”

The keynote address will be given by Rosemarie Poverman, MSW, LMFT, LCSW, who will present “The Positive Power of Humor” which will stress taking responsibility for one’s thinking, adjusting our perceptions about the challenges of caregiving and learning to thrive, not just survive.

Also on the program are:

  • An explanation of Medicaid programs and processes (including home care services)
  • Stress Reduction Through Yoga
  • Mindfulness Meditation for Stress & Anxiety Relief

“Caregiving can be defined as around-the-clock care for someone at home, or someone who has already had to place a loved one in a facility and still visits them once a day or several times a week,” said Sue Moleon, director of the Division of Aging, Disability and Veterans Services. “Or, it could be someone caring for them long-distance and flying to see them every couple of months. It’s all caregiving and it’s all stressful.”

Attendees will have access to nearly two dozen local care providers and resources, including the County’s Office on Aging, Disabilities and Veterans Services, Alzheimer’s Association, Visiting Physicians Services and a host of elder care providers.  

Vendors that will be in attendance include:

  • Alzheimers Association
  • Ascend Hospice
  • Beacon Health & Social Services (PACE)
  • Brightstar Care
  • Cancer Support Community
  • Care 2 Caregivers
  • Caregivers of New Jersey
  • Elder Life Management
  • Family and Children’s Services, Long Branch
  • Gary Garland Legal Services
  • Halcyon Elder Care
  • Imperial HealthCare
  • O.E.I./Captel
  • Onora Health Residential Facilities
  • RJ Healthcare
  • SCAN (Social Community Activities Network), Eatontown
  • Senior Mix Adult Day Care
  • Solana Assisted Living
  • St. Barnabas Health Care System
  • Visiting Physicians
  • We Care Adult Care
  • Monmouth County Division on Aging, Disabilities & Veterans Services

“This is a day for caregivers to indulge themselves,” Smith said. “Quite a few vendors will be providing complimentary therapies, plus there will be door prizes and gift baskets.”

The program will connect caregivers with an array of service providers who will be able to distribute information about a variety of services involving care for the aged and how to access those services. Among the services included are adult day care, respite care and home health agencies.

The program is being funded through the New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division on Aging Services.

The County’s Office on Aging offers information about the services, programs and resources available to residents 60 years of age and older. Programs funded through the Office on Aging include providing supportive services for caregivers, transportation, home care, physical fitness, education and recreation. The Office on Aging can be reached at 732-431-7450.