With Baby Boomers aging there are more and more adult children caring for parents. But who is caring for the adult children? On September 11, Jewish Federation & Family Services held what has become a popular conference on navigating the challenges and joys of aging. This year’s conference addressed the needs of families with aging adults, and helped navigate the question of “what about the caregiver?”
Providing breakout sessions led by distinguished experts in the field of aging, the conference also presented keynote speaker, Fritz Coleman, a popular broadcasting personality and standup comedian. Using his well-known humor, Coleman provided his perspective on traversing the golden years of one’s life. The complimentary kosher lunch featured Dr. William R. Shankle, The Judy and Richard Voltmer Chair, Memory and Cognitive Disorders, Hoag Neurosciences Institute.
So, what about the caregiver? According to Cally Clein, LCSW Coordinator, Holocaust Survivor Program and Therapist, “Care giving takes a lot of planning and knowing the resources. One of the hardest things when dealing with your own family members is being able to be objective enough to seek and get advice from others to focus on what you need to do and take care of your own needs.”
Conference co-chairs Jill Edwards and Michele Walot also know first-hand what it is to be a caregiver for aging parents and friends. Says Walot, “Often [aging] people become afraid of burdening their children, so it is good to have a friend who can give you feedback… Many people can become isolated and are afraid to ask for help—even just for company.”
Edwards spoke about her own hands on experience with her parents in-law and mother’s care, and the difficulty of being far away from her aging father. As a result, Edwards saw a tremendous need for this kind of conference in this community in order to gain information. “I believe that yes, the participants heard great speakers and vendors, but more importantly they had a chance to meet others in the same position they are… They were able to share experiences, share things that did not work and things that did work, and know they are not alone.”
According to the co-chairs this conference provided an opportunity for people to hear from others going through a similar situation. Past conferences have helped people find meaning for each day they have—this conference imparted on those caring for aging family members what they need to know about the importance of caring for one’s self.
Chicken Soup for the Silver Soul was held at Temple Bat Yahm, 1101 Camelback Street, Newport Beach. For more information call (949) 435-3460 or go to: https://familyservicesoc.org/senior-sevices/chicken-soup-for-the-silver-soul.
Lisa Grajewski, PsyD is a licensed psychologist in Irvine, California. She has a private practice providing psychotherapy and psychological evaluations.