Caregivers have support meeting tonight

May 31 2011 - 10:27pm

OGDEN -- Being a caregiver isn't an easy job, and many people don't understand what it entails.

The Utah Coalition for Caregiver Support is offering a town hall meeting to answer questions, provide education and hear stories from those who are traveling down that road.

The meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. today at the Pleasant Valley Branch of Weber County Library, 5568 S. Adams Ave.

Meetings also will be held throughout the first week in June in Salt Lake City, St. George and Orem.

"We would like for caregivers to come and tell us their stories and share their caregiving experiences," said Sonnie Yudell, Utah Caregiver Support program manager and past president of the coalition. "Many people don't understand what the term caregiver means. It can be anything from managing someone's medication, providing meals or transportation, paying their bills, helping with personal care or simply providing companionship."

The coalition is a group of organizations and individuals who are interested in the caregiving issue, Yudell said. When it first began, the coalition focused solely on the aging population, but has since moved across the life span.

"There's been a national movement in terms of lifespan respite, so that means whether you're caring for children, adults, aging, mental issues, people with HIV -- if you're a caregiver, we want to find ways to support you," Yudell said.

The coalition was recently awarded a life span respite care grant. The purpose of the grant is to create a coordinated system of accessible, community-based respite care services for family caregivers as well as planning and expanding or establishing services throughout the state.

Individuals who would like to attend the meeting are asked to RSVP to the town hall leader. A written story should be prepared and taken to the meeting. Those attending will also be asked to fill out a brief needs-assessment survey at the event.

Yudell also said district and municipality leaders are invited to attend to hear firsthand the concerns and barriers to care and treatment members of their communities face.

To RVSP, call Laura Owen-Keirstead at 801-525-5057 or email laura.owen-keirstead@alz.org.

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