Summit offers info, relief for caregivers

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Across Idaho, thousands of people of all ages with long-term disabilities, emotional disorders or chronic disease, including children with medical conditions, are being cared for by family members.

Caregiving for a loved one is not easy. Over time, care may become more intense, difficult and exhausting, physically and emotionally. Family caregivers need help to keep themselves healthy and to reduce the stress that is often an outcome of caregiving.

Family caregivers are an essential part of Idaho’s health-care system. They provide uncompensated and often complex care and support to thousands of disabled and ill family members. People with all sorts of challenging conditions are living longer: The fastest-growing segment of our state’s population is the elderly, though caregiving for a person of any age can be a long and ever-changing process.

Focus traditionally has been on the person with a disability or chronic condition, but attention needs to be on the caregivers as well. There is a current focus on people of all ages staying in their homes as long as possible rather than moving into long-term care facilities. That may mean living independently in one’s own home or in the home of a family caregiver with assistance. Long-term care facilities will always be needed, but there are often alternatives to keeping people safe and well cared for at home and, at the same time, offering needed support to the caregivers.

The Caregiving in Idaho Lifespan Respite Summit will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 30, at North Idaho College, Edminster Student Union, Coeur d’Alene. The summit will provide an opportunity for caregivers, community leaders, representatives from public, nonprofit and private programs, and other community members to explore creating networks of support for caregivers.

The summit is free of charge and a light breakfast and full lunch will be provided.

The summit is hosted by ARCH, the National Respite Network and Lifespan Respite Resource Center, and the Idaho Caregiver Alliance — a consortium of state, regional, and local governmental, private, and nonprofit organizations and individuals working together to improve community-based supports for family caregivers. The alliance is coordinated by the Idaho Commission on Aging in partnership with the Center for the Study of Aging at Boise State University.

The community is invited to join this opportunity to enhance community-based support for family caregivers. To register for the Caregiving Respite Summit, go to arch.wildapricot.org/event-3422904. Email questions to pam.oliason@aging.idaho.gov

The results of the summit will help improve access to caregiver respite.

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