January 3, 2011

Iowa & Illinois Agencies Collaborate For – Caregiver Connection

By Leslie Thompson
Public Relations Manager, Alternatives for the Older Adult

Being a caregiver to a family member or friend is rewarding and yet stressful. “Reach Out for Help” was the theme for November’s Family Caregiver Month and to assist Quad Cities family caregivers, a collaboration of the best resources in the Quad Cities has been developed. Generations Area Agency on Aging, Alternatives for the Older Adult, Alzheimer’s Association and Western Illinois Area Agency on Aging have come together to make it easier for caregivers to access help.

“We need to get the word out to family caregivers on both sides of the river that help is available and make it easier to find that help,” said Christa Merritt, Generations’ Executive Director. Just one phone call to any of these agencies will
connect the family caregiver to the best supports to fit their unique needs.

As many caregivers in the Quad Cities live in one state and support their family member in another state, it becomes confusing who to access for support. “Caregivers often have jobs and families, in addition to the person they care for. In many cases, you only have time to make one phone call over your lunch hour,” noted Jerry Schroeder, Program Specialist at the Alzheimer’s Association.

Working together, these agencies will provide informational brochures for health/wellness events, for employers, health professionals and public access. Members of the collaboration are available for presentations to community groups. Future events include a family caregiver conference in April 2011 featuring a keynote speaker, workshops and displays of community based services.

“We are very blessed in the Quad Cities to have such high quality support for caregivers and we have all seen the difference that support can make for a caregiver,” explained Kathy Weiman, CEO for Alternatives for the Older Adult. Taking care of a loved one is challenging, rewarding, and now it’s just a little bit easier.

If you are a family caregiver and interested in talking with someone, call any of the agencies directly or just use one of the 800 numbers below! We’re here to help.

Alternatives for the Older Adult
Generations Area Agency on Aging
Western Illinois Area Agency on Aging
Alzheimer’s Association

Leslie Thompson is Public Relations Manager for Alternatives for the Older Adult. She can be reached at 309-277-0167 ext. 266 or Lthompson@4olderadults.org