In honor of National Family Caregivers Month, Duet: Partners In Health & Aging recently hosted its second annual Family Caregiver Symposium. The event, which took place on Nov. 2, had 275 family caregivers and professionals in attendance for its morning session and 125 attended its afternoon session. It was held at the Church of Beatitudes in Phoenix.
The symposium featured expert panelists who shared how to navigate physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being through varying periods of high stress. These insights ranged from how to cope when a loved one is first diagnosed with a condition that will require ongoing care to how to manage end of life choices and an identity beyond caregiving. The morning session included insights from Amy Goyer, AARP’s national family caregiver expert and author of Juggling Life, Work and Caregiving; Pauline Boss, PhD, family therapist, pioneering theorist and author of Loving Someone Who Has Dementia; and Maribeth Gallagher, PhD, Dementia Program Director for Hospice of the Valley’s dementia care program. Lin Sue Cooney, Director of Community Engagement for Hospice of the Valley and well-known local news personality, served as the morning session’s moderator.
In addition to the panel discussion, during the afternoon session, volunteers and professionals attended a free training to become facilitators for Duet’s new family caregiver video discussion series, “Finding Meaning and Hope,” based on Loving Someone Who Has Dementia, by Pauline Boss, PhD. The family caregiver video series was made possible by a grant through Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust.
“Duet envisions a community where family members who take on the difficult, isolating and emotional work of caregiving are fully supported in equal measure to those they care for,” said Ann Wheat, director of family caregiving services at Duet. “The Family Caregiver Symposium gave participants a day of learning from some of the country’s leading experts and connected them to resources that will help them through the challenging times ahead. Many who arrived in despair left with a sense of hope.”
The Family Caregiver Symposium’s Signature Sponsor is AARP Phoenix. Plans are in the works to host the event again next fall. Family caregivers can receive ongoing support from Duet through support groups, workshops, respite, information and referral services, and more. To find out more about how Duet can help family caregivers, visit www.duetaz.org/index.php/services/caregivers.