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Caregivers are invited to sharing session Feb. 6

Caring for an older adult can be difficult and challenging. A group of area agencies and organizations are working together to offer resources and support.

As part of that continuing support, a "Let's Talk about Caregiving" session will be held from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6, at the Tilden Community Center, 310 River St.

The evening will provide an opportunity for caregivers to share their concerns, offer support to one another and receive some additional resources from the agencies and organizations in the area.

Hastings resident Marie Trejo will attend the session. For five years, she was her mother's primary caregiver. Her mother has Alzheimer's disease and currently resides in an assisted living facility. Trejo still assumes many of the responsibilities of an active caregiver, staying in communication with the facility administration and staff. She is grateful to the many resources now available.

"You need to have them, to make use of them for your own body and mind," she said. "They are very helpful."

Trejo read about the Feb. 6 session in the Community Education brochure and was very interested. Having the opportunity to connect to the different agencies is important, she said.

"They have the resources to do things," she said. Being able to connect with them is the key.

About a year ago, a Hastings resident wrote a letter to the Hastings Star Gazette, questioning how to go about getting information about caregiver resources. The letter caught the attention of Hastings resident and DARTS volunteer service resources coordinator Colleen Fritsch.

"They were valid questions she was raising," Fritsch said.

Fritsch, with the help of the United Way of Hastings, contacted a number of nonprofit agencies/organizations in Hastings. The groups held a subsequent meeting for area caregivers, asking them to share their concerns and comments and provide a listening opportunity to each other.

"What we learned is that many did not know about these different agencies," said Fritsch. "The caregivers had some of the same concerns shared by the letter writer."

The goal was, and is, to let the caregivers know about the agencies and services available to them and the community. Plus, the agencies working together help each other in bringing more awareness.

Since last spring, there have been some educational offerings through Hastings Community Education. In late September the Caregiver Corner in the Star Gazette, a weekly column, became part of the collaboration and another way to provide more awareness.

The participating agencies are Dakota County Social Services, Dakota County Communities for a Lifetime, DARTS, Hastings Community Education, Hastings Family Service, Hastings Ministerial Association, Hastings Area Senior Center, Oak Ridge Assisted Living, Park Ridge of Hastings, Regina Medical Center and United Way of Hastings.

To make a reservation for the Feb. 6 evening, call 651-480-7670. There is no charge. Dinner will be provided by Oak Ridge Assisted Living.