Eldercare Services Offers Support for Mason Caregivers

Posted: November 8, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Catherine Ferraro

Even though society tells us adults should be able to take care of themselves, as more and more people live into their 80s and 90s, this is not always the case. Those who fall into the “sandwich generation” must take care of their aging parents or relatives and their own children.

According to a 2005 study conducted by the National Alliance for Caregiving in collaboration with AARP, 59 percent of caregivers currently work or have worked while providing care. Estimates indicate that about 21 percent of the population 18 and older is providing care to another adult.

In a joint initiative, the Office of Human Resources and Payroll and the College of Health and Human Services offer eldercare services to anyone in the Mason community who is taking care of an elderly loved one.

Although caregiving responsibilities vary from one caregiver to the next, they often include helping elders with activities of daily living such as bathing and eating and other activities such as paying bills and taking medications. While Mason employees try to maintain a balance between work and family, they are often facing obstacles such as a family member’s illness and long-term care needs.

“As baby boomers get older, they often find themselves responsible for taking care of their own children and their elderly parents,” says Patrice Winter, eldercare service coordinator. “It is very astute of the university to develop an eldercare services program to support and assist the needs of caregivers at Mason.”

The eldercare services program at Mason is designed to provide resource and referral information and educational programs to increase the comfort, confidence and knowledge of employed caregivers.

Eldercare services offers support to Mason employees who are caregivers by helping them understand the community services that are available. For example, if a caregiver at Mason needs to provide transportation for his or her elderly mother who lives in another state, an eldercare service professional will contact agencies that can provide transportation information to the caregiver at Mason.

Support groups are also held once a month for caregivers at Mason to share stories and strategies and offer insight into the challenges of taking care of elderly family members or loved ones.

The Eldercare Seminar Series hosts a speaker once a month to discuss a broad range of caregiving topics, such as information sources for employed family caregivers, financial and legal considerations in caregiving and caring for those with Alzheimer’s.

For more information about eldercare services, visit the web site or contact Winter at 703-993-1802.

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