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Seminar for caregivers set

by Joyce Hollister

A seminar to teach awareness and educate caregivers about respite care for all age groups will be held in Gardnerville next week.

“Would you like to offer your opinion or ideas about respite and how it should look in the Minden-Gardnerville area?” asks Stan Dowdy, representative of the Nevada Respite Coalition. “Come to a meeting and voice your hopes, dreams, concerns.”

Respite care is temporary relief for the caregivers of disabled children, spouses with devastating illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease or other disabled family members regardless of age.

Dowdy said many people in the Gardnerville area have asked her about helping set up some sort of respite care.

“Everyone tells us there is a real need for respite care in your area,” she said. Dowdy is based in Reno.

The Nevada Rural Respite Council has helped to set up programs in Fallon, Elko and Pahrump, she said, and many respite care advocates in the state hope to develop a bill to be submitted to the next Legislature that would provide funding of some kind for respite programs.

Funding would help train caregivers who would stay with family members while the primary caregiver has time off. Respite workers need specialized training.

“You need somebody who’s professional,” Dowdy explained. “Not just anybody can come into your home and care for your family member.”

Family members being cared for have special needs, and their caregivers require training on how to handle them – children with severe physical disabilities, for instance, or elderly people with dementia.

The proposed funding would also help defray some of the expenses of caregivers, who would typically be paid at least $10 an hour because they have special training, Dowdy said.

All people who are interested in respite care are invited to the free seminar.

The meeting will be held Wednesday, Dec. 8, 10 a.m. to noon, at Summerville at Virginia Creek, 1565-A Virginia Ranch Road behind the Carson Valley Medical Center, Gardnerville.

Refreshments will be served.

For more information, call Dowdy at (775) 688-2284.