Caregivers find resources at annual fair

As the baby boomer generation gets older, more and more Americans are faced with issues related to caring for aging relatives. To help, the Department of Social Work teamed up with a number of campus and outside organizations to host the eighth annual Caring for Aging Relatives Effectively (C.A.R.E.) Fair and Workshop

The event featured national and regional experts on aging issues including retirement communities and housing options; legal services on wills and living wills; local and state aging services; Alzheimer’s disease and support services; home-based care; health issues; and retiree volunteer opportunities.

Melissa Kuykendall, a junior social work student from Smithville, worked a shift at the department’s main information booth during the fair.

“I feel social work is about both education and offering opportunity,” she said. “You want to give people all of the information they need, and you also want to make sure that they don’t miss out on opportunities that are available to them.”

Jo Ann O’Quin, professor of social work in the School of Applied Sciences and organizer of the annual event, was inspired to organize the first C.A.R.E. Fair in 2000 after her own experience caring for aging relatives. Also, as a professional who specializes in helping families cope with relatives afflicted with Alzheimer’s and related dementia, O'Quin said she saw the event as a way to reach more people who need professional guidance in these areas.

Hundreds of people have participated each year, many of them baby boomer generation faculty and staff on campus. This year’s fair and workshop were sponsored by UM’s Department of Social Work, School of Applied Sciences, Office of the Chancellor and HealthWorks in conjunction with Mississippi’s Department of Mental Health Division of Alzheimer’s and Other Dementia; the Department of Human Services Division of Aging and Adult Services; the Mississippi Gerontological Society; One Life Education and Training LLC; Azalea Gardens Senior Living Community; and Hermitage Gardens.