Annual Caregiver College helps ease stress for families caring for an aging loved one

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - It's stressful when the health of a loved one is declining, especially if you are the caregiver. The Area Agency on Aging doesn't want families to feel overwhelmed, so they invited the community to the annual PEACE Coalition's Caregiver College on Friday at the Atrium. PEACE stands for Prevent Elder Abuse and Crime Exploitation.

Becky Buffaloe is a caregiver who knows what it's like to serve her loved ones.

"Oh yes, it just blows your mind," Buffaloe said. "You take it day by day, sometimes minute by minute to get through the day."

Buffaloe has a lot on her plate these days.

"Right now I'm caring for my father who's 101 years old and my older sister who has a terminal brain disease," Buffaloe said.

Those with the Area Agency on Aging said they're happy to provide the community with resources like this.

"It helps that individual to have a path so that they'll know which direction to go in," Lydia Weeks, Alabama Cares Program Coordinator said. "If they need help, they'll know who to call and where to turn."

The annual gathering reaches beyond the attendees to the community services that help year round.

"We have professionals that are here, in turn they can help their clients," Weeks explained. "We have individuals that really just want to gain knowledge about those important topics like Medicare, health care, dementia, because at some point we all are going to face it."

Each year, Caregiver College extends a helping hand to ease families' fears and caregivers encourage others to accept it.

"Don't stop looking," Buffaloe said. "You need help, take it. Don't be afraid to ask is the most important thing."

TARCOG's Area Agency on Aging also launched a new program called Dementia Friendly ALABAMA. You can find out more information by visiting www.facebook.com/CentralAlabamaAging.

Caregivers can also find more information at tarcog.us.