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Prime Time | Missy Thomas: Conference designed to help caregivers

By Missy Thomas, Northwoods Caregivers

Caregiving often takes many forms. If you provide things like transportation, housekeeping, personal care, financial support or other similar tasks to family, friends, neighbors, and/or loved ones, you are a caregiver.

According to the National Family Caregivers Association, family caregivers provide 80 percent of our nation’s long-term care services which currently equals more than $306 billion annually in “free caregiving services” to loved ones.

If you are caregiving for a loved one, empower yourself, first, by recognizing how great you are and the honor in what you are doing. Secondly, reach out for the help and the support available to you. Start by attending Northwoods Caregivers’ annual Caregiver Conference from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 8 at the Adult Day Services facility in Bemidji. The conference is free and will include presentations by local speakers on important caregiving topics, a variety of resources and educational materials, and a free breakfast and lunch. Free respite care is also available to conference participants. For more information or to register for the Caregiver Conference by Dec. 6, please call me at 333-8266.

We encourage you to take time this month to celebrate who you are and the importance of what you are doing. While November may be the official month to recognize your acts as a family caregiver, every month — and every day — is one in which you make a difference.