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Focus group seeks input

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events Hastings, 55033

Hastings Minnesota 745 Spiral Boulevard 55033

A metro-wide focus group is looking for caregiver input. The Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging is teaming up with Wilder Research to host a series of focus groups across the metro area over the next six weeks. If you are an adult who provides care to a family member or friend over age 60, or an individual (of any age) with Alzheimer's Disease, you may be eligible to participate. Each focus group will last about 90 minutes and a meal will be served. All participants will receive a $20 gift card for their time. DARTS has been asked to help find working caregivers for one of the upcoming sessions, which will be held in late March.  To learn more about the study, please contact Thalia Hall at Wilder Research at 651-280-2692.

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Caregiver education and resources you might find helpful

Shared Decision Making Community Ed's Coffee & Conversation series continues from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 20, at Tilden Community Center.

No one has the same experiences or makes decisions the same way. Shared decision making helps you make a decision when there is no evidence that one choice is best, it helps you understand your options and is easy to learn and follow. A reservation is requested by calling 651-480-7670.

Estate, Medical Assistance and Funeral Pre-Planning

Also part of Coffee & Conversation, this session is Thursday, March 21, also at Tilden Community Center. Join the conversation from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. or 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. "Funeral Lady" Brenda Schultz, funeral pre-planning consultant, will talk about funeral options; putting money aside, how to make changes in your plans once it's in place and changes in the funeral industry. A reservation is again requested, so please call 651- 480 -7670.

Memory Loss Support Group

The memory loss support group meets the third Tuesday of each month from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the private dining room at Regina Medical Center. Contact Kim Schrader at 651-404-1383 for more information.

Vision loss support group

The vision loss support group meets the fourth Thursday of each month from 10:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. in the activities kitchen at Regina Medical Center. Contact Kim Schrader at 651-404-1383 for more information.

Caring reflections: One caregiver's reflections on caring for older loved ones

I just heard a story from a woman who spent the past two days at a hospital advocating for an older man who was injured in a fall. She's not his daughter, wife, or niece. She's his friend. This woman has a spouse, children and a demanding full-time job, and now she's also this man's primary caregiver.

It's a scenario that will become much more common; the number of one-person households headed by an elderly person is on the upswing, as is the number of single and childless adults growing into middle age and older. Who will be their advocates?

Her story got me thinking about the implications of caregiving outside of family relationships and the preciousness of connections that can mean the difference between a fearful and a fearless old age. I'm thinking:

• It must be especially hard for non-related caregivers to take time off work to help a friend or neighbor. Employment and leave policies aren't written with them in mind.

• I haven't made contingency plans for illness or disability, which would be helpful to family members and indispensable to potential caregivers who know me less well.

• This older person and younger friend are a beautiful example of kinship. How important it is to nurture relationships with people of different ages! We all can create a caring family of choice.

Editor's note: Beth's complete online journal can be found at: www.darts1.org/ blog/caring-reflections.

For a resource guide for service providers who can help in your caregiver journey, please stop by the Hastings Senior Center in the Tilden Community Center, or go online to: www.darts1.org/dakota- county-eldercare-resources.

If you would like to submit a question or concern about your own caregiving experience, and get direct, one-to-one information and advice from a licensed social worker and eldercare advisor, please visit: www.darts1.org/online-caregiving-advisor or call 651 455 1560.

This section of the Star Gazette is a resource for family and friends helping an older adult. We hope you find this section useful, and if you have a caregiving story to tell, we would love to hear from you. Please contact Colleen Fritsch at DARTS, 651-234-2222 or Colleen.Fritsch@DARTS1.org.

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