Happy National Nurses Week!

This week we are celebrating nurses. May 6th through May 12th is National Nurses Week. This week coincides with the birthday of Florence Nightingale, an English social reformer, statistician, and the founder of modern nursing. According to the AACN, each year, this week recognizes nurses for the highly specialized knowledge, critical thinking skills and compassion they bring each and everyday.

The week-long celebration has expanded to the entire month of May, and I am all for it. Nurses have shown their grit tenfold throughout this pandemic, laying their lives on the line to help so many. If it weren't for the help of numerous nurses, I would've had a very rough time caring for my grandparents the last couple of years, and for that I am forever grateful.

A Shout Out to Caregivers

As we recognize all of our certified nurses out there, I also want to give a shout out to another set of unsung heroes: caregivers. According to Oxford Languages, a caregiver is defined as a family member or paid helper who regularly looks after a child or a sick, elderly, or disabled person. There are a great number of caregivers who are certified in medicine and health to some degree, while there are others who are simply thrust into it. I guess we could say that my days as a caregiver started when my mom had cancer back in high school. More recently, I was the caregiver to my paternal grandparents for about a year and a half. My mom and my uncle has also been the caregivers for my maternal grandparents for five years now.

I'm not the only young person who has been a caregiver that I've witnessed. I do a lot of work with the American Cancer Society, and at countless Relay for Life events, I see dozens of students step forward for the Caregiver Lap. I've had friends from college and high school put their own self-interests aside to care for an elderly grandparent, a sibling who is disabled, a parent who is going through treatments, and more. We may not talk about it a lot, but there are more of us caregivers out there than we often admit.

Where the role can be rewarding sometimes, it can be strenuous, deflating, and even soul-crushing. Especially when you are dealing with a loved one decline and you feel like you have little in you to do anything about it. As I said, a number of caregivers like my family and I were thrust into things and have been learning as we went. We have no training for what we do, but we try to do it nonetheless.

16th Annual Dutchess County Caregiving Conference

Caregiving can be a role that feels lonely. Similar to someone dealing with an affliction, being a caregiver can isolate someone, and it can make them feel like there is little to no support, that they are going through this alone. The thing is, there are more people going through similar circumstances, and there are networks out there built to support caregivers.

The Grandview in Poughkeepsie is the location for the 16th Annual Dutchess County Caregiving Conference on May 25th from 8:30 am to 2:00 pm. There will be panels and seminars where caregivers can learn and feel supported. Not just that, it gives caregivers to be in a room with people who understand.

Some of the topics and panels included will discuss Medicaid/Medicare, Covid Implications, Self-Care, and Scamming. A continental breakfast and lunch will be provided, as well.

The event is free, but registration is required. You can register for the event here. You can also call the Alzheimer's Association phone number to register or for more information. That number is 800.272.3900.

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