Caregivers — Are you one? We have some events for you!

Perhaps you don’t think of yourself as a caregiver but, according to the National Family Caregivers Association, “more than 50 million people provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend during any given year.”

November is National Family Caregivers Month and the Grand Rapids Public Library has partnered with the Caregiver Resource Network to offer two programs to recognize and assist caregivers in their caregiving journey at the Main Library.

On Tuesday, November 10th, beginning at 4:00 p.m., join us for a busy and informational afternoon and evening as we welcome Joy Spahn, Regional Director of the West Michigan Region’s Alzheimer’s Association, who will be speaking at 4:30 on “Steps to Confident Caregiving for Persons with Dementia.” There will be a break from 5:30 to 6:30 where people may visit information tables and enjoy hors d’oeuvres.

Mary Ellen Geist, one of the 2009 Michigan Notable Book authors for her recent book, Measure of the Heart, will speak at 6:30 on “Creative Caregiving” while relating her family’s journey with her father’s Alzheimer’s.  Read Chapter One, Missing Moments, to get a flavor of the book.  Her family was also featured in the May 2009 HBO special, The Alzheimer’s Project.

While these two speakers focus on Alzheimer’s Disease (November is also National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month) these talks should appeal to any caregiver.  Catherine Behrendt, WZZM Programming and Community Director and Host of Take Five & Company, will be the MC of the afternoon and evening’s activities.  We’d love to have you come to the entire program but feel free to come for just part of the program.

A second event, on Saturday, November 14th, beginning at 10:00 a.m. continuing until noon, will address “When You’re the Baloney in the Sandwich,” featuring motivational speaker and humorist, Judy Schreur, speaking to the issue of finding balance in the caregiver life.   Winners of the CRN Youth Essay Contest will be announced.   Susan Heartwell, Executive Director of the Grand Rapids Student Advancement Foundation, will be the MC of the morning’s activities.

Registration is encouraged through email at registration@aaawm.org or by calling 616-222-7055 but is not necessary. Both events will have a number sponsors with information tables set up to provide helpful information on various topics.

The sponsors include:  Airway Oxygen, Alzheimer’s Association, Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan, Care Resources, Clark at Home, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services, Easter Seals, Family Aging Resources, Focus Care Home Health, Gerontology Network, Great Lakes Home Health and Hospice, HHS Health Options, Holland Home, Hope Network Side by Side, Hospice of Michigan, Leaves Personal Care Services, Legal Aid of Western Michigan, Michigan Medicare/Medicaid Assistance Program (MMAP), O’Bee Long Term Care Planning, Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services, Plachta Murphy & Associates P.C., Prudential, Right at Home, Safe Call, Sarah Care Adult Day Center, Seniors Helping Seniors, and Spectrum Health Hospice.

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