As people age and some become disabled, they may need a caregiver, and while that role can be fulfilling, it also can be exhausting and sometimes isolating.
Anyone who cares for another likely has experienced the stress and possibly the feelings of helplessness that can come with taking care of an ailing person.
To help caregivers through the many hurdles, The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) is co-hosting a free workshop on Feb. 22.
The workshop is for people who care for someone who is disabled or sick, adult children concerned about aging parents, as well as those who work for long-term care facilities.
“Caregiving can be very meaningful work. And it’s also really hard work, ” said Laura Akgerman, disability services coordinator for Ohio State University Extension’s Ohio AgrAbility program, one of the workshop’s hosts. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of CFAES.
“If you’re in a rural area, everything can be even harder—getting into a nursing home or assisted living center, driving to a specialist, or finding a home health worker.”
Although the workshop’s presenters will be in Columbus, their talks will be streamed live to locations in Akron, Athens, Caldwell, Fremont, Lebanon, and Ottawa. At each of the meeting sites, an OSU Extension educator and representatives from local social service or senior service agencies will be present to answer questions and encourage discussion.
“People will learn relaxation techniques. They can vent. They can ask, ‘What do I do now?’” Akgerman said. “There’s no one who understands you like someone else in the same position.”
Managing caregiver burnout, rural health strategies for using telemedicine, helpful gadgets and technology, and local resources for caregivers will all be discussed during the workshop.
The goal is to reduce the isolation that can come with caring for a loved one by connecting people with others in similar predicaments and informing them of the resources within their community that might help: mental health providers, medical practices, senior services, and other caregivers.
The event will be the first in a series on caregiving that will be offered at various times throughout the year, Akgerman said.
“We want caregivers to know that there are resources available across Ohio, that they should ask for help, and take care of themselves as well as the person they are caring for.”
The Feb. 22 workshop will be 12:30 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. at various locations. In addition to CFAES, the workshop is being hosted by Ohio State’s College of Nursing Martha S. Pitzer Center for Women, Children and Youth and the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities. To register and for more information about the workshop, visit go.osu.edu/caregiverworkshop.