Our association and Northwest Neighbors Village co-hosted a program last week on the challenges of caregiving for those with memory loss and health problems. The speakers, all experienced social workers, represent local nonprofit groups. They offered information and advice on the many services available in D.C. to help families find the support they need so they can make good decisions about what is best for them.
Northwest Neighbors Village executive director Stephanie Chong conducted a lively exercise with audience volunteers, who were handed plastic balls to represent the many responsibilities that caregivers must juggle every day. Needless to say, they were quickly overwhelmed with the balls.
Christine Bitzer of Seabury Resources for Aging talked about the role of care management agencies in helping families with their health and social needs. She emphasized that family caregivers need to take care of themselves, too; caregiving can be isolating.
Deb Rubenstein of Iona Senior Services described how her group works with overwhelmed caregivers. People should speak to a specialist on their helpline. The agency runs a Wellness and Art Center for those with memory loss, which offers caregivers a needed respite.
Speakers talked about transportation options available in the community, the importance of listening to loved ones about what they want, and the value of working with an advocate. The panelists emphasized how important it is to plan ahead. Don’t wait until your loved one is in the hospital, and know what resources are available to help you.
We elected our officers for the next year. Kate Barnes-Domotor is president; Robert Gordon, first vice president; Jory Barone, secretary; and Sandra Cihlar, treasurer. We plan to hold an ice cream social this summer and Chevy Chase D.C. Day on Sept. 15.
The Chevy Chase Community Center has launched new programs for seniors this spring. Functional Fitness, a “low-impact” fitness class, will start June 4; Music and Melodies, June 5; Cranium Crunch (to keep the brain sharp), June 6; Intro to Pilates, June 6; Zumba, June 8; and Chair Fitness, June 9. For information about times and locations, visit the center at 5601 Connecticut Ave. NW or call 202-282-2204.
— Jory Barone and Ted Gest