Coatesville Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Caregiver Support Conference
The Coatesville VA Medical Center hosted the annual Caregivers Support Conference, Friday as the kick-off event to recognize National Caregiving Month.
The annual conference is organized by CVAMC Caregiver Support Program Council to provide education, support and opportunities to learn about VA services, programs and resources, as well as the chance to network with other caregivers.
“We want caregivers to walk away feeling refreshed, reenergized and feeling the support of other caregivers,” said Michelle Bade, CVAMC Caregiver Support Coordinator. “We want them to feel comradery, validated from hearing other people’s stories, you know, that they are not alone.”
Among the events this year was a cooking demonstration with dietary topics, the benefits of body mechanics, yoga and meditation, and chiropractic and acupuncture for chronic pain. Throughout the day, caregivers could treat themselves to a hand massage with aromatherapy oils provided by representatives from Hospice.
This year’s keynote speaker was Coatesville VA clinical psychologist, Dr. Elizabeth Phelps, who spoke about the importance of selfcare and resiliency. She emphasized that caregivers need to take care of themselves so that the person they are supporting can get the care they need.
Phelps said, “The airlines have got it right. If we don’t take care of ourselves, if we don’t put our own mask on first when we are 30,000 feet in the air and oxygen is low, then we are going to pass out and we are not going to be able to do anything for anyone else.”
The VA provided respite services both at the conference site and in the Veteran’s home to support the caregivers attending this conference. Respite care provides the caregiver a short-term relief so they can be fully involved in conference activities while the Veterans enjoy a day of activities and socializing.
People who were scheduled to attend the conference but were unable to can contact the Caregiver Support coordinators to receive copies of the briefing materials.
Anyone interested in more information about the Caregiver Support Program can contact Maureen Miller or Michelle Bade at 610-384-7711 extensions 5310 or 2917, who co-chair the Caregiver Support Program Council.