5 Features of Great Caregiver Support Workshops

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I’ve attended caregiver support workshops all over the country. Some of them were huge events with hundreds of participants, and others were more like intimate discussions. Some included multiple presenters over the course of a day, and others were limited to a single presentation. They have been organized by colleges and universities, medical providers, local governments, non-profit organizations, Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs), Aging & Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs), assisted living facilities, employers, and networked professionals.

While every caregiver support workshop is different, and each one is special, I’d like to share five features of a great caregiver support workshop. If you’re attending one in your own community, chances are high that you’ll see at least three of these features. But if your caregiver support workshop includes all five of these features, then you’ve got a really good thing going.

The best caregiver support workshops include the following features:

  1. Local planning – I love it when a caregiver support workshop is planned, publicized, and conducted by individuals within the local community. Caregiver support group facilitators or meeting organizers who live locally are in tune with the needs of caregivers in the area, which means that they can create a program that is tailor-made.
  2. Resource sharing from within the community – If local caregivers are invited to a caregiver support workshop, it’s great for them to connect with groups and organizations that can offer ongoing support for a wide range of caregiving needs. When locally accessible tools, information, and connections are made available, it can extend the impact of a workshop beyond the day of the actual event.
  3. Expertise from outside the community – If you want your event to be memorable, I’d suggest inviting a national caregiving expert to speak. When the main message is delivered by a national expert, there is usually greater participation by family caregivers and interested professionals in the community. The best caregiving speakers bring a depth of knowledge to their work, and they’re able to touch both the minds and hearts of the audience.
  4. Opportunity for family caregivers to converse – Sometimes the most valuable connections or insights that family caregivers gain from the support workshop will be in private discussions they have with one another. The workshop setting is an ideal context for the establishment of meaningful relationships among family caregivers because they are able to share experiences.
  5. Food – Food not only nourishes the body; it also draws people in. Food prompts you to sit down, stay awhile, talk with your neighbor. The family caregiver who carries a heavy load is likely to savor a tasty meal that they don’t have to make. I’ve seen occasions where meals were provided by the event organizer, other instances where sponsors funded the meal in exchange for marketing exposure, and a few events in which payment of an advance registration fee covered the cost of lunch.

I’m delighted to assist event organizers who are offering caregiver support workshops in local communities across the world. If you would like to host a caregiver support workshop and want to explore how I can help, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Posted in Family Caregiving, Organizational Caregiving