Hampton Roads, Va. (Sept. 14, 2016) – Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia, along with Sentara Healthcare and Optima Health, invite area residents to celebrate November as National Family Caregivers Month by sharing a touching story about a family or professional caregiver for "A Salute to Caregivers" at "The Art of Healthy Aging Forum & Expo" on Nov. 10.
Stories must be submitted to Senior Services by Oct. 7 for consideration. The most poignant stories – one in each of three categories – will be presented during the lunchtime session of "The Art of Healthy Aging Forum & Expo" on Nov. 10 at the Virginia Beach Convention Center, 1000 19th St., Virginia Beach. The three categories are: a family caregiver for an individual at least 60 years old, a family caregiver for a military veteran at least 60, and a professional caregiver. A panel of caregiving experts will review all nominations and award prizes. All caregivers attending the lunch will be recognized as unsung heroes.
The overall forum, being held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., is presented by Humana Inc. and sponsored by Senior Services. This year's theme is "The Joys and Challenges of Caregiving," and the keynote speaker is Leisa Easom, Ph.D., R.N., executive director of the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving and Pope Eminent Scholar at Georgia Southeastern State University. Dr. Easom, a registered nurse for over 30 years, devotes much of her practice to addressing the mental and physical health needs of older adults.
Caregiving has long been an important dimension of family life, but its ramifications have only recently been studied and become the topic for support groups and conferences, according to Senior Services staff. "It was a quiet thing for many years," said Debbie Schwartz, Senior Services Director of Development and Community Relations. "But family caregivers have always had to juggle multiple responsibilities, especially those who are working full-time while also having to take care of an aging parent or spouse.
The topic, however, is especially timely at the moment, as many baby boomers who have just finished raising their children are now becoming caregivers for their parents. Our Nov. 10 forum will be a great place for people to share and learn."
The Nov. 10 forum also will include workshops on a variety of topics, health screenings and an exhibition hall with 65 to 70 vendors with products designed to support the health and lifestyle needs of seniors and their families. Last year's forum drew about 500 people.
The forum's $20 registration fee covers the continental breakfast and lunch, as well as access to all program offerings. Online registration ends Nov. 7. Tickets at the door cost $25.
Sponsors to date – in addition to Humana, Sentara Healthcare and Optima – are JenCare Neighborhood Medical Centers, Chesapeake Regional Healthcare, TowneBank, Virginia Eye Consultants, Hook Law Center, AAA of Tidewater, Checkered Flag, Aramark, As You Wish Virginia Advance Care Planning, Harbors Edge, AARP and Doubletree Hotel.
Caregiver stories may be submitted by mail or online. Stories that are mailed should go to Caregiver Stories, c/o Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia, 6350 Center Drive, Bldg. 5, #101, Norfolk, VA 23502. For story guidelines and a link to the online submissions form, please go to the "A Salute to Caregivers" link found at www.ssseva.org.
Director of Development and Community Relations