Celebration set to honor caregivers

Thursday, May 3, 2007

It's been a little more than a year ago since the birth of the Putnam County Caregivers' Support Group.

With one year under its belt, the organization has scheduled a celebration to honor the people who have become part of the group.

The support group, co-founded by Cindy Little, will conduct a "mini-fair" from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday, May 17, at the Putnam County Public Library.

Sponsors of the event include Autumn Glen at Greencastle, Asbury Towers Retirement Community, Hickory Creek at Sunset, Ivy Trace Catered Living, Mill Pond Health Campus, Summerfield Health Care Center and the Waters of Greencastle.

Greencastle Mayor Nancy Michael will speak to those in attendance at 11 a.m. prior to cutting the organization's birthday cake.

The program is free but advanced registration is encouraged. Little said those who register before May 11 will receive a free lunch.

Other featured speakers include Holly Wachtel of the Waters of Greencastle, Colleen Matthews of Mill Pond Health Campus, Linda Hunter, Ivy Trace representative Carol Newman, Putnam County Public Library representative Sue Parsons, Putnam County Hospital representative Annette Handy, Asbury Towers representative Mariellyn Hill, Hamilton Center representative Bill Nunn, among others.

PCH Social Services Director Sue Murray is also scheduled to speak at the event from 6-8 p.m. during the organization's regular meeting.

Little said supervised child care will be offered at the event from 6-8 p.m.

Live music will also be performed at the event.

Little helped co-found the grassroots organization because she wanted to see something offered in the community that helped those who care for people who can't take care of themselves.

"We wanted it to be all inclusive," she said, "and that's what we have."

She said the group's motto is "we understand."

"Because if you haven't done it, you don't understand," she said.

The organization was born on April 13, 2006, and always meets at from 6-8 p.m. on Thursdays at the library.

"The idea was first discussed at my house," Little said.

Little said that while the organization has regular attendees, it averages between 6-12 people at each meeting.

"I would say six of them are originals, charter members," she said. "So we have some substance."

Still, Little said there are people in the community who are unaware of the group's existence.

"There are people who say, 'the caregivers' what? You do what?'" she said.

Since the group's inception, Little has visited nearly all the retirement communities in Putnam County with the hope of garnering a little more support. She said all responded by giving what they could, even though the organization wants to maintain its independence.

She said those who attend the meetings come to discuss coping with caring for those who can't care for themselves.

"There's a lot of talking and a lot of sharing," Little said. "Most of us have gotten past the crying part, but I'm not going to say that's 100 percent."

She said members of the group typically exchange information with each other, such as places to find necessary items to help with care giving, in addition to sharing hints and various other tips.

"You can plan something for a year and five minutes later, you've got an emergency," she said. "And it works the other way. We can be pretty busy."

Little said the organization, which is not affiliated with any other group, has had its share of trouble staying afloat, saying that the group is always in need of donations of any kind.

"We ask for a lot of favors," Little said, adding that the organization won't always have the luxury of doing that.

For more information on the group or its upcoming event, call Little at 653-3076 or Parsons at 653-2755, ext. 113.

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