According to AARP, Oklahoma has more than 600,000 caregivers. A primary caregiver takes responsibility for a patient’s day-to-day care and comfort. In most cases, caregiving involves helping the patient with basic physical and medical care, and communicating with the patient’s health care providers. Many caregivers do this 24 hours a day, seven days a week without a break.
The theme for this year’s conference is Coming to Our Senses, and will provide caregivers with resources to help them learn practical ways to make self-care a part of their lives so that they can continue to care for their loved ones.
The conference will begin with Carrie Chavers, M.Ed., who will present, “Embracing Color.” Chavers is the owner of Paint on Canvas in Chickasha. Chavers leads a workshop designed for anyone wanting to create a masterpiece on canvas, guiding participants through the stages of completing a painting in just a few hours.
Amy Steele Neathery, JD, follows with “A Sense of Accomplishment.” Steele is an associate with Pierce, Couch, Hendrickson, Baysinger and Green, LLP. She has been a caregiver for her mother, who has early onset Alzheimer’s.
Other speakers include: Emma Brӧmme, Sunbeam Family Services therapist, and Jessica Welp, Sunbeam Caregiver Fundamentals Program manager. They will present, “A Caregiver’s Best Friend – Pet Therapy.” Brӧmme is a Licensed Professional Counselor who works with individuals including children and adults, as well as couples and families. In addition to overseeing Caregiver Fundamentals Program manager, a federally funded program that provides support groups, counseling, trainings, and respite to family caregivers and grandparents raising grandchildren, Welp also manages the Sunbeam ADvantage Case Management program. She and her certified therapy dog, Shotgun, visit memory care units, senior centers and support groups.
The keynote speaker will be Bob Willis who will speak on “A Sense of Being.” Willis, a Southern Baptist minister since 1978, has led churches in Kentucky, Tennessee and Oklahoma. He served as Bereavement Coordinator for Hospice of Oklahoma County for more than 11 years. Willis leads grief workshops and conferences around the country. His book, The Ultimate Caregiver: Words from the Cross to the Caregiver’s Heart, provides helpful communication guides for caregivers and their loved ones.
The 18th Annual Caregiver Survival Skills Conference is sponsored by Sunbeam Family Services, Mercy Hospital, Home Instead Senior Care, Concordia Life Care Community and Areawide Aging Agency.
In addition to the speakers, the conference will provide lunch as well as a resource fair. There is a suggested donation of $10 to attend the conference. Registration deadline is June 8. For more information or to register, call 405.936.5821.