To provide Fair participants with options and sources of assistance, various agencies were were present, including Washington State Dept of Social and Health Services, Senior Companion Program, Home Care Pros Northwest and Harbors Home Health and Hospice.
The Fair was coordinated by Grange Member and Home Health Nurse, Heidi Bale, who recognized the caregiver's need for resources.
"I pulled together our local area agencies to have everyone in one place so the public can come and not just get a brochure, but actually talk to the people doing the services, to interact and dialogue with the people they will be dealing with." Bale said.
In the auditorium, Bale also set up an "R&R Lounge" appointed with rocking chairs, quilts, hot tea and even a free massage.
Attendee Jean Shaudys has experienced a typical caregiver situation, "My husband Vincent had a stroke and is in rehab right now. I'm happy to find out what's out here."
In addition to resources, area organizations offer hope to overwhelmed caregivers. "We are a clearing house for a lot of information and if they use us as their first stop, we can usually get them where they need to go after that. Let us know what you are looking for and we can help get you there. And it's all free." said Doug Sheaffer, Direct Services Manager of Pacific County for the Olympic Area Agency on Aging.
South Bend resident, Sally Gillies, a Fair attendee said, "I'm surprised there is so much available."
Bale hopes the Caregivers Fair at the Grange will become an important annual event for the community so caregivers know they have options.
For more local assistance, contact Area Agency on Aging in Pacific County at 360-642-3634, Ext. 11.