Today in the U.S., over 10,000 baby boomers are turning 65 each day. More and more people are finding themselves sandwiched between caring for children and an aging parent or grandparent.

According to research by the National Alliance for Caregiving, 29% of the U.S. adult population, or 65.7 million people, are caregivers, including 31% of all households. Family caregivers provide an average of 20 hours of care per week. Caregiving lasts an average of 4.6 years.

Caregiving touches almost every family and in very different ways: different health conditions, different situations, even different cultures. Understanding the family caregiver and what they need to be successful is why Copeland Oaks and Crandall Medical Center are offering a special free program during October to provide area residents some support in caring for loved ones.

“The Caregiving Puzzle: Putting the Pieces Together” will be presented on Oct. 7, 14, and 21 from 7 to 9 P.M. in Bennett Auditorium on the campus of Copeland Oaks Retirement Community 800 S. 15th St., Sebring. Each of the free 2-hour Tuesday evening seminars in the series will be interactive and focus on various aspects of giving care at home.

Facilitating the programs will be Sandy McLachlan, a retired medical technologist and resident of Copeland Oaks, Kathy Wineman, LPN, staff nurse at Alliance Visiting Nurse Association, and Rev. David Parry, Copeland Oaks Chaplain.

McLachlan traveled to Florida in 2003 for training to present the caregiver course while working with Wayne County Hospice, then became caregiver for her mother-in-law who made her home with McLachlan and her husband. Since introducing the caregiving course in, McLachlan has shared the information with over 600 persons.

“The role of caregiver can be very challenging and exhausting both physically and mentally, or it can be a very rewarding experience. We want to help people be competent caregivers and feel a sense of self-satisfaction and fulfillment in their role,” commented McLachlan.

Caregiving Seminars

Topics discussed during the seminar series include:

Information on the need to care for one’s self in order to care for another Suggestions for “reframing:” the caregiving experience to find the positives Practical tips and “how to’s” on physical bedside care

Discussion around the difficult decisions concerning medical care at end of life McLachlan urges anyone who feels they may need to take care of a loved one in the near future to attend the programs. “Whether man or woman, often we are thrust into the caregiving role with little or no training or preparation,” she observed.

Although the seminar series is free, each participant will receive an information packet so registration is requested. To register, please call Shelley at 330-938-7403.