The Mayors of the Cities of Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village, and Agoura Hills, California, on behalf of their entire City Councils, named January 30, 2016 Caregiver Recognition Day. Their written proclamation states in part, that:
- The fastest growing segment of the total population is those over age 80
Family caregivers, including spouses, adult children, siblings, neighbors, friends, and grandchildren, are providing 80% of the care to aging loved ones
Hundreds of thousands of family caregivers are providing 37 billion hours of caregiving worth $375 billion each year
The mayors recognized that caregivers are better able to provide care for their loved ones when they are healthy and rested, but that they can become weary, tired, depressed and/or burned out causing multiple health issues for them.
Knowing that a few good hours of respite can make a big difference in a caregiver’s life, the cities wished to bring awareness to caregiver challenges, to recognize and support caregivers, to let them know that caregivers matter, that they are not alone, and that Conejo cares about them.
Cheryl attended “Caregivers Matter…Conejo Cares,” a half-day program and luncheon on January 30 honoring and celebrating family caregivers. She congratulates Senior Concerns in Thousand Oaks, The Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce, and the Cities of Agoura Hills, Westlake Village and Thousand Oaks for hosting this excellent program. The event provided caregivers the opportunity “to share their story, renew their spirit, relieve their stress and enjoy an uplifting and empowering program.
The day’s agenda featured a Yoga session, a panel of three physicians who discussed how they identify and care for family caregivers, a keynote address on focusing on the positive, a comedian who got the room laughing about “The Lighter Side of Caregiving”, a special exercise about the healing power of gratitude, and a lunch.
A 2016 Caregiver-Friendly Business Award was presented to California Lutheran University for its leadership by accommodating and recognizing family caregivers..
Many exciting prizes were given away to caregivers in a free raffle, including massages, trips, hotel stays, and in-home respite care. Each participant left the event with gifts and a huge tote bag brimming with “goodies” donated by contributing sponsors.
More special events celebrating family caregivers should be offered throughout the nation. Public support and recognition of family caregivers is needed every day.
Cheryl’s comments about “Caregivers Matter…Conejo Cares” are included in an excellent article about the event written by Alicia Doyle for the Ventura County Star: http://goo.gl/PXuzgD