16th Maui Family Caregiver’s Conference set for Nov. 2


You call it reminding your wife to take her medication.

You call it taking dad to the doctor and keeping notes at the appointment.

You call it mowing auntie’s and uncle’s grass.

You call it checking in with tutu every night.

But we call it caregiving.

November is just around the corner and with it comes National Caregiver Month. Maui County Office on Aging is kicking it off on Nov. 2 with its 16th Maui Family Caregiver’s Conference in the Grand Wailea Ballroom.

This annual conference has grown from under 100 participants in 2002 to an estimated 300 participants on Nov. 2. Caregivers will not only enjoy high-quality speakers, but the beautiful surroundings at the Grand Wailea and networking opportunities with over 30 exhibitors at the resource fair portion of the conference.

Conference registration includes a continental breakfast and buffet lunch and is only $20 for family caregivers, seniors and students, and $30 for professionals. Scholarships are available to qualified individuals and limited bus transportation from Central Maui is available on a first-come first-serve basis.

Sandy Markwood is the conference keynote speaker. She is the CEO of the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging and has spoken to delighted audiences across the state for many years. Her 30 years of experience developing and delivering quality aging, health and transportation programs has provided her extensive experience with solutions that work for caregivers and their families.

Patricia Bemis is back by popular demand. Representing AARP, she will focus this year on understanding advance directives. Patricia brings to this presentation both her professional experience as an RN and personal experience as a family caregiver.

Bevanne Bowers, an attorney and Maui Mediation Services’ executive director, will lead a special panel on family communication. Caregivers will explore strategies and resources that can aid families as they make difficult decisions that often elicit very strong emotions.

Norma Circle with the Maui County Office on Aging and Heather Greenwood Junkermeier with University of Hawaii Extension will present “The Dollmaker,” a short video and discussion on the importance of caring for the caregiver.

This annual conference brings together resources and information for caregivers at various stages in caregiving — from those who are “just helping out” to those who are providing 24-hour care to their loved ones.

It’s never too early or late to build your caregiving team and to find the support that will help you thrive while caregiving.

Former first lady Rosalynn Carter perfectly describes not only our relationship to caregiving but also those who would benefit from the 16th Maui Family Caregiver’s Conference. She said, “There are only four kinds of people in the world. Those who have been caregivers, those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers.”

To learn more about the 16th Maui Family Caregiver’s Conference from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Nov. 2 at the Grand Wailea, contact the Maui County Office on Aging by at 270-7755 or mcoa.adrc@mauicounty.gov or online at www.mauicountyadrc.org. Registration deadline is Oct. 27, so call, register and pay today.

* Heather Greenwood Junkermeier is with the University of Hawaii Manoa Cooperative Extension, Maui Intergenerational and Aging Programs. Aging Matters will cover topics of interest to the aging Maui community and will appear on the third Sunday of each month.