2012-06-07 / Front Page
Giving to those who give of themselves
June 23 event to offer relaxation, refreshments to people who are caregivers
HOWELL – When Bari Faye Siegel was a caregiver for her late grandmother Beatrice, who had Alzheimer’s disease, she found little time for herself.
“I kept saying to myself if there was only an extra hour in the day,” Siegel said.
Now caregivers, especially those who care for elderly loved ones who have memory related maladies, will have that opportunity through an event Siegel created called the 25th Hour, which will be held June 23 from 9:30-10:45 a.m. at Brandywine Senior Living in Howell.
In an interview, Siegel said the free event was part of a leadership course she is taking at Landmark Education.
“I wanted to create an event that was one hour for caregivers to not be thinking about caregiving. This is a time for them to be thinking about themselves, caring for themselves,” she said. “The one telltale sign of being a caregiver is when you put yourself last.”
The June 23 event is intended for those who care for friends or family members “out of the kindness of their heart,” and not those who are professional caregivers, she said .
Brandywine Senior Living, which just initiated a free Alzheimer’s support group that meets on the last Thursday of every month, is donating refreshments and the use of its space for the event.
Linda Cassidy, executive director of Brandywine Senior Living, said in an email that the 25th Hour event is a great way to support caregivers.
“We want to show our support to caregivers who are caring for a loved one at home. We want caregivers to know they are not alone. There are many options,” Cassidy wrote. “At Brandywine, we offer a respite program that will allow the caregivers to take a much needed break while we care for their loved one.”
Patty Lang, the owner of Stroke of Creativity in Monroe Township, a studio that offers a variety of artistic activities, will be the keynote speaker at the event.
According to Siegel, Lang was a caregiver to her special needs children and like most caregivers, put herself last and subse- quently suffered a stroke.
Lang will discuss the importance of caregivers taking time to care for themselves, Siegel said.
In addition, comedian Matt Bridgestone will donate his performance for the event.
Siegel said the event is designed to feed caregivers’ bodies and spirits, noting that Bridgestone will help prove the expression “laugher is the best medicine.”
Caregivers will be provided with guides for relaxation and resources to help them take better care of themselves.
These resources are being provided by national organizations including the Well Spouse Association and National Family Caregivers Association, Siegel said.
Lawrence Bocchiere, president of the Well Spouse Association, will serve as the master of ceremonies for the event.
“Caregivers are a dedicated group. They often labor long and hard to maintain the viability of their loved ones — usually to their own detriment,” Bocchiere wrote in an email to Greater Media Newspapers. “I applaud the efforts of 25th Hour for bringing the needs of caregivers into the forefront.”
Siegel is currently the president of Get ItWrite, which she founded to provide marketing and public relations services. She previously served as an editor and vice president of communications for the New Jersey Technology Council and as managing editor of Princeton Packet Publications.
Caregivers are asked to RSVP by June 16. For more information or to participate, email firstname.lastname@example.org.