Parker Empowers Caregivers With Info and New Tools
By Danielle Woodruffe
Whether you’re taking care of a spouse, parent or friend, the work of being a caregiver is no easy feat. That’s why Parker brought caregivers together for a day packed with tools to encourage growth, learning and emotional support at our first annual Caregiver Conference recently.
The first warm weather day of the season brought 61 participants to Parker at the Pavilion in Highland Park for education on topics ranging from communication strategies to use with those you are caring for, to how to deal with ambiguous loss, which is loving and caring for someone who is there, but not mentally present.
Phelan, Frantz and Peek law firm educated participants on tactics that would empower elders and their family to make well-informed legal decisions. During lunchtime, caregivers and their loved ones were coached by Lori Morrell, senior manager for Parker’s Center for Healthy Aging through several safety tips to use around the home, such as making sure your feet are touching the ground before getting out of bed, always keeping a flashlight and nightlight next to your bed when you sleep and never using a ladder when changing a light bulb, but using a tool which helps you to grab the light bulb.
Fifteen vendors joined us for the conference with resources and helpful tips for caregivers. Vendors included; AARP, Aging with Dignity, American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA), Archer Law Office, LLC., BrightStar, Mary Kay, Parker at McCarrick post rehabilitation services, PF&P law firm, Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care (COPSA), Somerset County Office on Aging and Disability Services, Senior Helpers, Stein Hospice, Tranquil Transitions, VNA Health Group and Wilf Transport.
A common theme among those who attended is that they often feel “burnt-out.” One caregiver notes, “Once you become the designated caregiver, everyone expects you’ll handle everything.”
The day’s events reinvigorated several caregivers who were delighted just to mingle with others who walk a similar path and experience similar challenges.
“I need to be able to call someone when I have a ‘melt-down,’ I also need to learn how to laugh more and argue less,” added an attendee who took part in the mindfulness workshop instructed by the Parker Health and Wellness Center.
Parker’s mission of discovering ways to make aging manageable for all, seeks to enrich the lives of seniors and their caregivers. Parker offers additional help for caregivers through our Caregiver Support groups. Please check out the events section of our website: https://www.parkerlife.org/events for upcoming caregiver meetings.