In Arizona, 130,000 adults ages 65 and older have Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. In fact, a 2014 study from the Department of Health and Human Services showed about 20 million unpaid caregivers across the country provide care to almost 10 million adults ages 65 and older.
Family members who care for aging loved ones in Maricopa County will have expanded tools, resources and support from Duet: Partners In Health & Aging thanks to a three-year, $460,000 grant from Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust. The grant funding include a new, highly sustainable caregiver-to-caregiver volunteer program to better serve isolated and overwhelmed caregivers; expansion of services for caregivers from diverse, underserved communities including Spanish-speaking caregivers; and new models of service to increase socialization and connectedness, such as book clubs and caregiver movie gatherings.
As part of its expansion of services to Spanish-speaking caregivers, Duet recently hired Daniela Saylor, a North Central resident whose father suffered a debilitating stroke when she was 16 years old. She stepped up to help her mother serve as caregiver for her father, a role that prepared her for her new job as Caregiver Services Program Manager at Duet.
“My experience as a caregiver is the reason I find this work at Duet so important,” said Saylor, now 28. “There are so many caregivers who are overwhelmed and alone.”
In her role at Duet, Saylor helps director of Caregiver Services Ann Wheat deliver caregiver support services, which include support groups, a caregiver-to-caregiver mentor program and a caregiver symposium on Oct. 6.
“How to Find Hope While Coping with Stress and Grief,” will take place 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at Church of the Beatitudes, 555 W. Glendale Ave. Renowned researcher and psychologist, Dr. Pauline Boss, will share proven techniques to help caregivers deal with losses and how to reclaim hope amidst grief. The fee is $20. To register, visit www.duetaz.org. For more information, call Duet at 602-274-5022.
Boss and Duet also will create a series of professionally produced videos based on Boss’s book, “Loving Someone Who Has Dementia.” Boss’ resiliency-based techniques for coping with ambiguous loss and reclaiming hope amidst grief resonate deeply with caregivers. The series of short videos, used as part of facilitated discussion groups, will help give caregivers the tools they need to navigate the losses associated with their journeys.
“Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust is pleased to support Duet’s efforts to enhance mentoring and services for caregivers,” said Susan Pepin, M.D., President and CEO, Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust. “Both Duet and Piper Trust are committed to helping older adults remain healthy, independent, and productive. We are humbled by these selfless caregivers; their well-being also plays a critical role in healthy aging and independent living.”