Minnesota Massage Pioneer Sister Rosalind Gefre Announces New Family Caregiver Programs to Relieve Caregiver Burden

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Minnesota-based massage pioneer Sister Rosalind Gefre has launched Sister Rosalind's Family Caregiver Programs to relieve "caregiver burden" for family caregivers of the chronically ill. These programs will include weekend retreats featuring massage, aromatherapy, education and support. Over 50 million people now provide care for a family member or friend during any given year, and that number is expected to grow. The stress from caregiving has resulted in higher rates of depression, divorce and death among caregivers.

Minnesota-based massage pioneer Sister Rosalind Gefre has announced the launching of her new programs to relieve "caregiver burden" for family caregivers.

Sister Rosalind's Family Caregiver Programs will feature massage, aromatherapy, relaxation and education during weekend retreats in a peaceful natural setting. Guest speakers will give presentations about caregiving issues and advice about self-care. There will also be the opportunity for spiritual fellowship and group discussion.

Caregivers may choose from two separate retreats to be held in Fall 2007, from Friday through Sunday, either October 12-14 or November 30 - December 2. Both retreats, which are open to the public, will take place at the Riverwood Conference Center in Monticello, Minnesota, located 35 minutes from downtown Minneapolis. Other retreats are also planned for the future.

Since 1983, Sister Rosalind has been serving the community with therapeutic massage through her "Massage Ministry". In the same spirit of serving the community, she is now turning her focus to the increasing number of family caregivers who are undergoing extraordinary stress from the competing demands of work, family and caregiving. This stress has resulted in emotional, physical and financial hardships and higher rates of depression, divorce and death among caregivers.

According to the Center for Disease Control estimates, 90 million Americans live with chronic illness. The National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion states that at least 25 million people have chronic, disabling conditions. The National Family Caregivers Association reports that more than 50 million people provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend during any given year. And John Hopkins University research predicts by the year 2030, nearly 150 million Americans will have some type of chronic illness.

For over two decades Sister Rosalind and her massage students and therapists have generously donated tens of thousands of hours of free massage therapy to the community. Sister Rosalind has built a large massage ministry through her Sister Rosalind's Schools and Clinics of Massage - (http://www.sisterrosalind.org) - with five professional schools and seven wellness centers and clinics in Minnesota and North Dakota. To date, more than 10,000 people have attended schools bearing her name. Her biography, "Hands That Touch, Hands That Heal", (available at Amazon.com) documents her remarkable contribution to the popularization of massage in the past 20 years, in spite of formidable obstacles.

Sister Rosalind says:
"It has been my dream for many years to create programs where people can experience the healing of the body and mind in a beautiful and peaceful natural setting. Sister Rosalind Caregiver Programs are dedicated to supporting caregivers of those with chronic illness in a place where people can enjoy the healing power of nature and seek regeneration of body and soul."

For more information, including the cost of attending the retreats, visit the Web site at http://www.caregiverprograms.org. Inquiries are welcome about possible scholarship funds to attend the retreats, as well as possible reimbursement for respite care through cooperating nonprofits such as the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Minnesota. To volunteer and/ or to make a tax-deductible contribution to help support a family caregiver to attend a retreat, contact Peter Fahnlander at Sister Rosalind Schools and Clinics of Massage at 651-554-3013.

Joan Holman


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