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Ellen Phipps

When a person assumes the responsibility of caring for a loved one, the need for information can be overwhelming. Caregivers share a common desire for information, resources and emotional support. They need access to health information to better understand illnesses, conditions and diseases. They also need access to resources for managing the financial impact of caregiving, strategies for dealing with stress, information for caring for someone with dementia and information on finding the right type of care.  

Research indicates 30 percent of adults in the United States provide support to a loved one, and most in this group are caring for an elderly parent or spouse. The caregivers consist largely of women, many of whom are still working full-time jobs. By 2030, approximately 80 million Americans, or 20 percent of the population, are projected to be 65 or older, and 2.3 percent of the population will be 85 and older.  

As the percentage of citizens caring for an older adult increases, so will the need for easy access to relevant health care information and support services.  

In response to the Community Conversations needs assessment conducted by Aging Together through generous support from the PATH Foundation, the Aging Together Fauquier team (co-led by Mark Harvey of Firstlight Homecare and Ginny Biggs of Aging Together) has prepared a Caregiver Workshop; it will be presented on Dec. 5 at Fauquier hospital. 

In a statement about the workshop, Liesa Dodson of Grace Retirement Village and chair of the Caregiver Workshop Committee, said, “the primary goal of the workshop is to provide awareness of resources and services available to caregivers, as well as to offer a supportive group atmosphere where other caregivers can discuss ideas and ask questions. 

Specific topics include “Caregiver Burn-Out, “Options and Care Navigation,” “Dementia Stages, “Effective Communication Strategies for Persons with Dementia,” “Goals of Care” and “Understanding Financial Aspects of Care.”  

The workshop format will include a short keynote address followed by roundtable discussionsThis workshop style fosters a good choice of topics and participationattendees will learn from one another and from the topic expert. Presenters represent a multitude of organizations including:  Alzheimer’s Association, Capital Caring, Cornerstone Baptist ChurchFauquier Health, Insight Memory Care, NovaCares, LLC, Virginia Healthcare Services Rehab, Signature Estate & Investment Advisorsand more.  

One of the challenges in reaching people for these educational events is that people don’t necessarily identify themselves as “caregivers. A person taking care of a parent or spouse with a chronic illness or dementia is simply doing their duty as a loving “daughter” or partner. Another challenge for the person providing care is finding a replacement caregiver so they can take a break from their duties to attend a program. For that reason, we have scheduled a two-hour session (rather than an all-day event) with light refreshments.  

If people are interested but unable to attend, Fauquier Aging Together will host a live webinar in the spring (April 3) with renowned speaker Teepa Snow.  The webinar will allow caregivers to attend from the comfort of their homes or workplace. More information to come. 

The Fauquier Aging Together team consists of healthcare professionals and members of the community committed to meeting the needs of older adults.  

The workshop, Caring for a loved one: what you need to know, will take place on Dec. 5, at Fauquier Hospital, Sycamore Room, from 10 to 12 p.m.  

The workshop is free and open to the public. Please RSVP to Aging Together at 540-321-3068 or at info@agingtogether.org    

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