Caregiving November 2004
I recently attended a networking breakfast sponsored by the Human Services Commission, where it was rumored we would introduce ourselves by identifying an animal that represented what we do. As I pondered what to say while I drove in that morning, I came to the startling realization that I do not know of any animal other than the human species that takes care of its elderly when they are beyond reproductive age. We must therefore overcome biological as well as social resistance when we devote resources to our elders. But what a sorry world we would have without the gifts of our elders: mentoring, teaching, caring for youth, passing on history, leading and maintaining our community.
November is Family Caregiver Month, when we honor those who quietly give care to a family member, neighbor or friend. Every one of us is probably a caregiver to some degree; from doing occasional grocery shopping for a neighbor who no longer drives to providing 24 hour personal care in the home. PSRC’s Caregiver Resource Center is hosting “Wisdom for the Caregiver: Nurturing the Nurturer” on Saturday, November 13 from 10 am-3 pm. The day is designed to honor caregivers and provide important information. The keynote speaker is Dr. Teena Cahill, a local psychologist and nationally-known speaker, who is herself a caregiver. She will be joined in an afternoon panel by her husband, Col. Brooks Dyer, her daughter, attorney Mia Cahill, Linda McDonald, a Princeton Geriatric Social Worker, Dr. Jennifer Murphy, a research neuro-psychologist, and Lynn Buie-Carter, RN, MSN, a nurse who specializes in insurance and patient advocacy issues. We are planning a delicious lunch and other treats for the caregivers. So, this month, please appreciate your caregivers and encourage them to treat themselves to our conference!
This also provides an opportunity to remind you of the many social services offered by PSRC for people who are aging in place in our community and their caregivers near and far. We maintain an Information and Referral service, where we can help you connect with community services and resources. We provide consultations and counseling to help you identify your needs and consider options. We can help you determine your eligibility for various government programs and assist with applications. We host SHIP (Medicare) and Food Stamp counselors. We maintain a resource library and publish Community Resources for the Older Adult and Alternative Living Arrangements for Seniors, in addition to hosting educational programs and support groups.
I hope you are also familiar with our HomeFriends and LINK programs, which match adult and teen volunteers with home-based adults who are desiring to age in place, but may have become isolated and lonely because they don’t get out, or have difficulty with tasks like shopping or reading mail due to loss of eyesight or driving abilities. Many people do not have family nearby to help with these tasks. Please call Susan Kugler or Sue Tillett if you would like to be a HomeFriends volunteer or if you know someone who would benefit from a weekly visitor.
PSRC is seeking funding to develop a good central data base, one that can manage lists of donors, volunteers, program participants, mailing list etc. We want to be able to print class attendance lists, or do a mailing to people who have gone on prior trips. We want to send out a single mailing without duplication. We have taken some initial steps toward this, but need a gift of $5-10,000 to realize this dream.
RECENT GRANTS AND MAJOR GIFTS
PSRC received a grant from the J. Seward Johnson Sr. Trust to support our social services for older adults in the Princeton community, particularly those who are recent immigrants or with few resources.
The Caregiver Resource Center received a grant from the Mercer County Commission on the Status of Women to reach and support female caregivers. We expect to do this through the fall education series, the Nurturing conference and our support groups.
Earlier this summer, we received a donation from the Princeton Rotary to purchase a defibrillator (A.E.D.) for the Suzanne Patterson Building. It will be purchased soon and then staff will be trained in its use. We hope we never have to use it!
We have just received word that we will be receiving a donation from Bristol Myers Squibb toward the purchase of a LCD projector. Thanks to our computer instructor, Phyllis Kurshan for doing the outreach! Additional gifts are welcome as this will cover about half the cost.
HELP MAKE A COMFORT QUILT
Do you knit or crochet? Not sure what to make or have trouble with the intricate patterns but want to keep your hands busy during the long winter months? We want to try to assemble a comfort quilt to give to someone who needs it. Use your scrap yarn to make 6” squares and then bring them in to us at either location. When we have enough collected, we will stitch them together into a lap blanket. Volunteers to help with the assembly are welcome. If the idea takes off, we will continue.
PRINCETON UNIVERSITY STUDENT VOLUNTEERS
A group of Sophomore students have offered to do leaf-raking for older adults in Princeton after November 1, when they return from break. If you have a modest sized yard and you are interested, please call PSRC at 252-2362. We will then let the students know of your need and they will contact you to schedule.
CLAIRE JACOBUS RECEIVES AWARD
Claire Jacobus received an award from the Mercer County Commission on the Status of Women on October 21, 2004. She was recognized for her contributions to the community as a volunteer for PSRC, as well as the Human Services Commission, the Princeton Public Library and others.
UPDATE ON FLU VACCINES
Everyone is aware of the shortage of flu vaccine this year. As we go to press, we have received no vaccine serum yet this year. There is talk of redistribution of the vaccine not yet shipped. If we receive any of this serum we will let the community know through the Princeton Packet and Town Topics. In the meanwhile, here are some tips from the CDC by way of NPR:
Avoiding Flu & Colds
The CDC says if you can't get vaccinated for the flu, handwashing and good respiratory hygiene are good ways to avoid the flu and colds.
· First wet your hands and apply liquid or clean bar soap. Place the bar soap on a rack and allow it to drain.
· Next rub your hands vigorously together and scrub all surfaces.
· Continue for 10-15 seconds or about the length of a little tune. It is the soap combined with the scrubbing action that helps dislodge and remove germs.
· Rinse well and dry your hands.
· Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough.
· Keep fingers out of your mouth, nose and eyes.
· Never share toothbrushes, towels, drinking glasses and utensils.
· Avoid other people when you are ill with the cold or flu.
Source: CDC, 2004