By GARY BUDZAK | The Delaware Gazette
WESTERVILLE — A handful of people turned out for a “Caregiver Crash Course” on April 19 in the Genoa Township Hall.
Brian Fox, SourcePoint Caregiver Program Coordinator, gave what the Delaware County agency described as “a one-hour class for new, current, and future caregivers that includes information on safety, falls, getting organized, legal information, community resources, and self-care.”
Fox said “Delaware County is an aging community,” and caregivers tend to justify their service by saying it’s just something you do, it’s part of being a good son/daughter and supporting their spouse in sickness and in health. However, it’s also OK to feel stressed out and compassion fatigue.
“Caregiver burnout is not a moral failure,” he said.
Fox went over a “Caregiver’s Bill of Rights.” The first was, “As a caregiver, I have the right to take care of myself. This is not an act of selfishness. It will give me the capability of taking better care of my loved one.”
Another right was “to maintain facets of my own life that do not include the person I care for, just as I would if he or she were healthy. I know that I do everything that I reasonably can for this person, and I have the right to do some things just for myself.”
Fox encouraged caregivers to enlist their family members to help with certain chores, such as banking and scheduling appointments so that everything doesn’t all fall to one person.
“Nobody should be doing this alone,” he said. “Society conditions us to be scared of any end-of-life discussions,” yet they need to happen.
If family isn’t available to assist you as a caregiver, seek help from agencies such as HelpLine (dial 211), Job and Family Services, Veterans Affairs, Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging; and other resources such as Delaware County Transit’s new Demand Response and Bus Bucks programs. Of course, there’s also SourcePoint, which has Meals on Wheels and much more.
“We offer services you didn’t even know you needed,” Fox said.
Several audience members had questions ranging from transportation to gutter cleaning, and Fox provided phone numbers for them at the end of his presentation.
SourcePoint has been doing more in the eastern part of the county recently, such as “Sunbury Socials” in that city’s town hall, 51 E. Cherry St. The next of these social gatherings are from 1-3 p.m. on May 15 and June 19. Also in Sunbury is a Caregiver Support Group on the third Thursday of the month from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Community Library, 44 Burrer Drive.
The other two SourcePoint series classes in Genoa are “Seniors Against Scams” on May 17 and “Falls Free Zone — Home Hazards” on June 21. The classes are from 1:30-2:30 p.m. in the Genoa Township Hall, 5111 S. Old 3C Highway, Westerville. They will be presented by Allison Chakroff, SourcePoint Community Education coordinator.
SourcePoint will also have a free “Retirement Ready Drive-Thru” from 10 a.m. to noon on April 29 at its south parking lot, 800 Cheshire Road, Delaware.
“At this event, we’ll have information on downsizing, lifelong learning, financial and legal planning, travel, recreation, and more,” SourcePoint said on its website. “Plus, bring your documents and small electronics for shredding.”
For more information, visit MySourcePoint.org.
Assistant Editor Gary Budzak covers the eastern half of Delaware County and surrounding areas. He may be reached at email@example.com.