Goal is to provide information, respite for those caring for older loved ones

FREEHOLD, NJ – Taking care of an elderly parent or loved one can be a physical and emotional drain on caregivers and their families.

Every day in the United States, nearly 44 million caregivers balance multiple roles while providing crucial, unpaid care to help their loved ones, according to the AARP. They support their own families and go to work, but they still find about 20 hours a week to help Mom with cleaning the house or taking a bath, or getting Dad to the doctor.

“Caregivers provide care because that is what families do for the people they love,” Freeholder Amy A. Mallet said. “In fact, many people don’t consider themselves caregivers, but if they think about all they do for their loved ones and how much time they spend doing it, they’ll realize that they are.”

To help caregivers, the Monmouth County Office on Aging is sponsoring a free caregiver retreat from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Nov. 6 at the Sheraton Hotel in Eatontown. The program, for those who care for people over aged 60, includes a continental breakfast, lunch and access to caregiver resources. Registration is required due to space limitations. Register by calling 732-431-7450.

“We’re going to teach caregivers how to care for themselves as they are caring for someone else,” said Colleen Smith, the county’s caregiver specialist. 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.”

“It’s very hard to see your parents or loved one decline,” said Thomas Pivinski, director of the Division of Aging, Disability and Veterans’ Interment. “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. 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.

Keynote speaker for the event is Rosemarie Poverman, who is a licensed clinical social worker who specializes in a wide variety of workplace and living issues, including stress management, problem solving and decision making, communication and relationship enrichment. She takes a useful and funny approach to it all, teaching humor skills as self-empowerment skills.

Also on the program are:

  • Vivian Toarmina, a certified message therapist who focuses on breathing techniques and health and healing.
  • Carol Walkner, a writer who uses her craft to resolve conflict, relieve stress and share stories.
  • Diane Todd, a holistic health practitioner who practices self-growth and well-being focusing on positive thinking, managing worry and manifesting desires.

 

Vendors that will be in attendance include:

  • American Red Cross, Jersey Shore Chapter
  • A Place for Mom, Brick
  • Bank of America Reverse Mortgage, Marlboro
  • Care Alternatives, Cranford
  • Chapin Hill Nursing and Rehab, Red Bank
  • Family & Children’s Services, Long Branch
  • Garden State Spine & Pain Institute, Oakhurst
  • Homewatch Caregivers of Central New Jersey
  • Integrated Healing Choices, Old Bridge
  • Kensington Court, Shrewsbury
  • Mary Kay Cosmetics
  • Meridian Health, Neptune
  • Tao Massage, Ocean
  • Visiting Nurse Association of Central New Jersey
  • We Care Adult Care, Red Bank

“This is their day to indulge themselves,” Smith said. “Quite a few vendors will be providing complimentary therapies, including massages, manicures and aroma therapy. Plus, there will be raffles 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 National Family Caregivers Grant.