The Aging Matters Education & Expo drew hundreds of caregivers and their elder loved ones to Detroit recently for an event designed to provide them with resources, tools and support in their caregiving journey.
In its eighth year, the expo included workshops on elder law planning, community-based services, and understanding dementia and Alzheimer’s. Counselors were on hand to help with applications for public and private assistance. New York & Michigan Solutions Journalism Collaborative was a premier sponsor.
What we learned:
- Many caregivers are isolated. As often reported, 40% to 70% of family caregivers experience depression caused by isolation and loneliness. Those feelings are exacerbated by spousal caregivers, who turned out in greater numbers this year. Many said they came just to be around others in their predicament.
- Legal issues are a great concern for caregivers. There weren’t enough hours in the day or attorneys from the Elder Law & Advocacy Center on hand to field all of the questions from caregivers.
- The Alzheimer’s/dementia workshops were packed. Building a care team is the most important step in ensuring a loved one with Alzheimer’s or related dementia is properly diagnosed and addressed.
- Men care about caregiving, too. We saw many more of them at the expo than in previous years perhaps unsurprising given that the number of male home care workers is rising.
- Help is available. There were more than 40 vendors at the expo with tables, most of them home and community-based services. All of them connected attendees with other services outside of their organizations as well as their own.
In her keynote address “Caregiving Now, Caregiving Later,” Paula Duren, founder of Universal Dementia Caregivers, stressed the importance of caregivers connecting with others. Duren urged caregivers to make plans now for their own caregiving.