The first thing I notice when I sit at my desk in Aging True’s brightly lit office is my telephone. Often, the red light flashes with urgency, indicating a queue of voicemails. Today was no different. More than 15 voice mails beckoned for my attention.
I froze in my seat as I listened carefully to a message from a man who recently stepped into the role of caregiver for his ailing mother. He ended his message by saying, “I guess this is my new normal … I never thought I would care for my mom but it’s got to be done.”
More than half of the messages I received were from the male caregivers who were seeking or currently receiving assistance from Aging True. Until recently, I, like many of you, was unaware that statistics from the Department of Elder Affairs indicate that 40 percent of the reported 40 million caregivers are men. Most often, this happens involuntarily.
Oftentimes, men in the position of caregiver can struggle with hands-on tasks such as bathing and dressing their family member. In my experience, I have found that many male caregivers are hesitant to reach out for help. They then experience emotional or physical burnouts coupled with symptoms of depression. This is common.
This year alone, the Aging True Caregiver Support Program has seen an almost 20 percent increase in male caregivers. Many have taken on the role with little to no assistance.
One of the program’s goals is to identify the needs of caregivers in Duval County and help them continue their role in an efficient, healthy manner. We will host seminars every fourth Saturday in July, August and September, with a special July group for male caregivers. Saturday seminars will be at Hope Adult Daycare from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with free respite and refreshments. Caregivers who attend three seminars will be entered into a drawing for one free respite day at Hope Adult Daycare.
For more information about the Aging True Caregiver Support Program, please call 904.907.1292 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Seminar dates and times are below.
The following seminars will be from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at 8298 Bayberry Road, Suite 3, Jacksonville. RSVP to 904.807.1292 for one, two or all three seminars. Registration is free.
Supermen: Rejuvenating the Hero (especially for male caregivers)
Saturday, July 29, 2017
This seminar will focus on self-care, planning and coping with the challenges of caring for a loved one.
RSVP by July 21
Conflict & Circumstance: Keep Calm and Carry on
Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017
This seminar will focus on caring for individuals with Alzheimer’s/dementia and de-escalation techniques.
RSVP by Aug. 21
The Balancing Act: How to Avoid Burnout and Accessing Resources
Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017
This seminar will focus on community resources education available for caregivers and goal setting to reduce caregiver stress.
RSVP by Sept. 22