Riverhead’s Peconic Bay Medical Center (PBMC) is holding its third Annual Family Caregivers’ Expo and Retreat in the hospital’s lobby and adjacent areas from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Thursday, November 16. The event is part of National Family Caregivers Month, aimed at boosting awareness of the needs and issues of family caregivers. Anyone who currently cares for or may someday be responsible for caring for a family member is encouraged to participate.
The Expo includes tables and displays highlighting resources and support programs available to family caregivers, and attendees will enjoy free refreshments, chair massages, prizes and personal care items. The retreat will offer caregiver support sessions, instructional classes and a mindfulness meditation workshop.
“Family caregivers are absolutely the most important and most underappreciated healthcare resource in every community,” PBMC President and CEO Andrew J. Mitchell says. “This event underscores our recognition of the value of family caregivers and our commitment to providing them with the support and resources they need and deserve.”
PBMC’s Associate Director of Palliative Care, Tara Anglim, who is leading the program notes that this year’s Expo event is also the launching point for the hospital’s Family Caregivers’ Support Center program. “Our goal is to have a dedicated space within the hospital where family members can come at any time for advice, counseling, support, or to learn more about the services available to them here in the hospital and out in the community,” Anglim says. “We plan to recruit and train a core group of volunteers who will sustain this program for years to come.”
Noting that healthcare is changing, Mitchell adds, “Our Family Caregivers’ Support Center will be the first of its kind on Long Island, but our focus on dedicating more and more resources toward home-based care, community-based care, and care-when-and-where-you-need-it is a direction you can soon expect from all progressive healthcare systems.”
Now in its third year, PBMC’s Caregiver Support Group currently meets the third Wednesday of every month.
“Our Pegasus House Palliative Care program was expressly designed to provide support and respite for family caregivers,” Anglim continues. “But what we have learned in talking to our patients and their family members is that people need more support than they have been getting.” Being responsible for the long-term care of a loved one can be rewarding and uplifting, but it can also be “exhausting, frustrating, isolating and challenging,” Anglim explains. “Family caregivers need to know they are not alone in their efforts.”
Anglim says more than 75 people attended last year’s Family Caregivers’ Expo, and dozens participated in the workshops they offered—with very positive reviews. “We are hoping for much larger turnout this year.”
For more information about attending the Family Caregivers’ Expo and Retreat, attending Peconic Bay Medical Center’s Caregiver Support Group meetings, or becoming a Caregiver Coach volunteer, call 631-548-6804.
For more info, visit about Peconic Bay Medical Center, visit pbmchealth.org.