An estimated 40 million Americans are caregivers, offering constant support to others who depend on them because of medical issues, injury or other special needs.
The Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving on the campus of Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus devotes itself to supporting caregivers.
The Institute is not only a jewel for our local area– but for the entire nation.
“And I think there are more and more organizations that put caregiving into their portfolio but haven’t made this the center part of their work, so we’re proud of that,” said Dr. Jennifer Olsen, Executive Director of the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving.
A large part of that pride comes from the Institute’s annual Caregiving Summit.
“Caregiving is so difficult, and there are a lot of challenges that come with it, and so being able to gather individuals in the room all together to not only talk about some issues that are going on in this field, but to also address solutions, I mean, it’s amazing,” said Elizabeth Blount, Care Consultation Program Manager at the Institute.
On October 25-26, the Institute will hold its 31st annual Caregiving Summit, an event that will draw attendees far and wide.
“They are coming from all over. We have a lot coming from Georgia because it’s in our home state and we do have people from all over the country,” said Mary-Margaret Fox, Communications Coordinator for the Institute.
The summit kicks off Thursday, October 25, with a screening of “The Weight of Honor,” a documentary recorded over five years following family caregivers of severely wounded veterans.
Most of the activities happen on Friday, October 26, including a welcoming address by Mrs. Carter.
The keynote speaker is Mike Daly a law enforcement officer turned caregiver to his wife Carol who suffers from Alzheimer’s.
“Carol and Mike have been followed by “60 Minutes” for the past ten years so that they could document the progression of the disease to her brain,” said Fox.
“Following the keynote presentation, we’re actually going to be doing four different sessions that are going to be both informative and educational– not only for family caregivers, but also for professionals in the caregiving space,” said Blount.
You might be wondering how Mrs. Carter became such a passionate advocate for caregivers. It’s something she learned about early in life.
“Mrs. Carter has been a caregiver for most of her life,” Olsen said. “At the age of 12, her father struggled with Leukemia, and she recognized that caregiving is an important aspect, not just for individuals in the family, but often the whole family and the community.”
The summit will end the evening of Friday, October 26, with an awards gala.
To learn more about the summit, you visit the organization’s Facebook page. The summit will also be live streamed through the page. Please CLICK HERE to visit the page.