Friday, June 24, 2022

Care Connection focusing on Family Caregiver Program

Care Connection for Aging Services is expanding its family caregiving program with the addition of a Care Manager to specialize in these services.

Tammy Wilkey, of Edwards, Missouri recently assumed the role of Family Caregiver Coordinator for the southern part of the Care Connection area. She will serve Bates, Benton, Cedar, Henry, Hickory, St. Clair, and Vernon counties, focusing on the needs of caregivers.

Wilkey will serve as the first contact for people who need support in caring for their parents, spouses, friends, grandchildren, or other relatives in those seven counties. She will assess which services and information will help each caregiver – educational materials, support groups, or both.

Families are the primary source of support for older adults, with as many as 34 million Americans assuming caregivers’ role for spouses, parents, older relatives, or close friends. Some 43 million people provide care for family members of all ages. Those unpaid caregivers provide services that are worth an estimated $370 billion annually, according to the federal Administration for Community Living.

Caregiving takes a significant emotional, physical, and financial toll, according to research by the ACL. With nearly half of all caregivers older than 50, many are vulnerable to a decline in their own health. Studies show that coordinated support services can reduce caregiver depression, anxiety, and stress, and enable caregivers to provide care longer, which avoids or delays the need for costly institutional care for older adults who receive family care.

From her headquarters at the Warsaw Senior Center, she also will lead the agency’s Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program throughout Care Connection’s 13 counties. Wilkey has scheduled a Grandparents Support group to begin at 1 p.m. July 7 at the Warsaw Senior Center. The group also will be available online on Zoom.

To learn more or to register for the courses, call Wilkey at 660-438-3300, option 3.

Besides education and support, the Care Connection Family Caregiver Program can coordinate respite care for caregivers; assist financially with dietary supplements and supplies to help with incontinence; and help with the acquisition of aids such as grab bars or bath chairs.

Care Connection for Aging Services is a nonprofit area agency on aging serving people 60 and older through 21 locations in 13 West Central Missouri counties, including Bates, Benton, Carroll, Cedar, Chariton, Henry, Hickory, Johnson, Lafayette Pettis, Saline, St. Clair and Vernon. Its mission is to provide opportunities to create positive aging experiences. For more information, visit www.goaging.org.

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