Facilities, agency invite caregivers to celebration
CARIBOU, Maine — Cary Medical Center, the Aroostook Agency on Aging and the Maine Veterans Home in Caribou will honor family caregivers at the annual Caregiver Celebration, Friday, Nov. 4, at the Caribou Inn and Convention Center.
The event will begin at 3:15 p.m. and will feature a heart-healthy dinner, music, health and wellness exhibits, as well as a number of other exhibitors. Geriatric Nurse Practitioner Judy Metcalf of the University of New England will talk about aging well. The event is free and open to all caregivers.
Sharon Berz, director of long term care services with the Aroostook Agency on Aging, said the Caregiver Celebration has become a County tradition.
“We have been hosting this event for several years,” said Berz, who coordinates the project. “It is a way for us to honor those family caregivers who mean so much too so many of our elderly and disabled individuals. It is a great chance to network, to learn about new services, and to catch up with old friends. It is also a great learning experience.”
Family caregiving is a major contributor to the health care economy. In 2015, some 44 million family caregivers provided 37 billion hours of supportive care valued at more than $47 billion. Bill Flagg, director of community relations and development at Cary Medical Center, said the value of family caregivers cannot be overstated.
“There is a great push right now to support elderly so that they can remain in their homes,” said Flagg, who facilitates an Alzheimer’s caregiver support group. “I am constantly inspired by the dedication and courage of those family caregivers who provide compassionate, loving and supportive care to loved ones. Without their willingness to provide this care our health care system would be in greater crisis.”
The Caribou Maine Veterans Home, a Division of the Maine Veterans Homes, will join in the caregiver celebration this year. Melissa Graham, administrator at the home, said the organization was pleased to join in the event and to recognize the dedication of family caregivers.
“We certainly admire the dedication of family caregivers and what a wonderful service they provide in support of their loved ones,” she said. “We look forward to being part of the caregiver celebration and hope to make it a tradition every year.”
All caregivers are welcome to attend the festivities. Pre-registration is required. The first 100 people to arrive at the event will be entered to win a drawing for a $100 Visa Card.
To register or for more information, call the Agency on Aging at 764-3396.