July 24, 2019

Health News

March of Dimes ambassador

BREWER – Was your baby born prematurely? Do you know a family with a baby who was born prematurely and spent time in a neonatal intensive care unit? If so, the March of Dimes would like to extend an invitation to that family to serve as a Walk

America team ambassador.

WalkAmerica ambassador children and their families are visible symbols of the March of Dimes in the area. When the family relates how their lives have been touched by the March of Dimes, volunteers hear and see the connection between fund-raising efforts, the health of a particular child and thousands of other children across the United States.

The March of Dimes wants to identify, enlist and train families of premature infants who are willing to assist the local chapter in program and fund-raising efforts.

March of Dimes ambassadors are asked to:

. Share their stories at WalkAmerica events to illustrate the serious problems associated with premature birth.

. Speak at March of Dimes events such as the kickoff breakfast, the awards banquet and the dinner auction.

. Allow the March of Dimes to publicize the ambassador family’s story in local newspapers and other media.

To learn about the March of Dimes, call Gene Staffiere at 989-3376.

Physical disabilities support

BANGOR – Kristin Kohlmeyer, of the Belfast-based National Theatre Workshop of the Handicapped, will discuss and demonstrate the use of companion dogs at the next meeting of the area’s physical disabilities support and information group. The meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 4, at Alpha One, 1048 Union St.

Different from service dogs, which provide assistance to the disabled, companion dogs are specially trained to live with those with disabilities.

The support group welcomes those with all levels of physical disability. Also invited to attend and participate are spouses, parents and other relatives, friends of those with disabilities, and professionals in related fields.

The group now meets the first Thursday of the month, hears from guest speakers and discusses varying topics of interest.

For information, contact Gaelen at 942-6720 or Fred at 827-7367.

Family Caregivers Month

National Family Caregivers Month, sponsored by the National Family Caregivers Association, is designed to focus on the many challenges facing family caregivers, draw support for stronger public policy to address family care-giving issues, and raise awareness about community programs that support family caregivers.

“Caregivers can’t give what they don’t have,” said Lynn Leighton, one of the family caregiver support specialists at Eastern Agency on Aging. “They won’t have the energy, strength, compassion and endurance to see through the role of caregiving. On the positive side, if they take care of themselves, they can find more satisfaction in care giving because they are not compromising everything else that is important in life.”

Caring for a loved one can be rewarding, but it also may be frightening and frustrating. Seeing an ill or aging family member become increasingly dependent on outside help may give way to fear, anger and subsequent guilt.

For people who have children and jobs that require large amounts of time, including care-giving duties in the mix, can be a recipe for burnout.

Eastern Agency on Aging can help.

The Family Caregiver Support program specialists spend their days helping individuals and families that find themselves in a caregiver role. From making referrals to advocacy to a weekly phone call “just to check in,” specialists tailor the program to suit the individual, said Leighton.

“We offer so many services, but the biggest thing we hope is that people will call on us,” she added. “We help people when they are in crisis. However, if they call before they feel the need, it can help avoid a crisis altogether.”

Call Eastern Agency on Aging at (800) 432-7812 to speak with Lynn Leighton or Janet Lewis about care giving.

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