Community members listen to motivational speaker D.J. Vanas talk about the importance of taking care of yourself physically, emotionally and mentally, before you can continue to take care of others.

Fourth Annual Conference Held to Inform Caregivers of Resources Available in the Community

By Michelle Washington
Au-Authm Action News

The fourth annual Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Caregiver Conference was held at Talking Stick Resort on March 29. The conference provides caregivers with an opportunity to learn about support programs and services available to Community seniors age 55 and older and disabled individuals 18 and older, including family members or grandparents who are taking care of grandchildren.

At the conference, Mary Weston, the caregiver coordinator for SRPMIC Senior Services, announced that the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona has selected two Salt River caregivers for special recognition at the upcoming annual Tribal Caregiver Conference in November. Janet Andrews will receive the Elder Family Caregiver Award for the care and devotion she has provided for her mother, the late SRPMIC Vice-President Alfretta Antone, and also an elder of the Community.

Ethelene Ray will be given the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Award. Ray is being recognized for the many years of love and devotion she has provided to her grandchildren.

The first keynote speaker at the Caregiver Conference was D. J. Vanas, an acclaimed motivational storyteller and author of the book The Tiny Warrior: A Path to Personal Discovery & Achievement. Vanas uses traditional warrior concepts in his motivational speaking.

“It is the ultimate expression of love to consider and care for somebody on a daily basis,” said Vanas. He shared some key tools for remaining resilient in the face of challenge, with motivation and support.

The second speaker was Linda Thompson, a professional speaker and educator focusing on multigenerational caregiving challenges. She serves as the board administrator for the Arizona Assisted Living Homes Association and is also the author of the book A Caregiver’s Journey, which chronicles the journey Thompson experienced while serving as a caregiver to her mother.

Thompson focused on the key aspects of how to stay connected with different generations and break through the “generation gaps” present in the home. She also spoke about being a caregiver to people of all ages and using the right communication styles while assisting these family members.

Weston spoke about the importance of caregiving within the Community. The SRPMIC Senior Services program provides case-management services, training, support groups, caregiver activities and some additional services for the caregivers in the Community.

Several SRPMIC programs set up informational booths promoting their services, including Engineering and Construction Services, the Senior Home Repair and Replacement Program (SHRRP), the Salt River Foster Care Program, the Early Childhood Education Center, Youth Services, the Salt River Advisory Council for Children and Youth (SRACCY), the Salt River Clinic, Health and Human Services, the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program, and Salt River Central Intake Center.

If you are interested in any of these programs or in becoming a caregiver, contact Senior Services at (480) 362-7979. For Health and Human Services program information, call (480) 362-7350.

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