Minnesota Boomer Launches Elder Care Event to Help Others Find Answers

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Overwhelmed by trying to care for aging parents, Minnesota boomer launches elder care event to help others ... Nearly every day, Julie Groshens heard stories from colleagues, friends and family about the extraordinary challenges of caring for a loved one. So Groshens decided to form Elder Care Expos, LLC, a Minnesota-based company that produces elder-care resource events for the public. On May 9 and 10, Groshens and her two partners will launch the Elder Care Expo 2008 in St. Paul, Minn. The expo will be held in the Education Building at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day.

Good intentions only get baby boomers so far in trying to care for their aging parents. No matter how hard one tries to get the best care possible for a loved one, it's still easy to get overwhelmed, frustrated, angry and disappointed in the process.

One Minnesota baby boomer seemed to have an ideal combination of resources to care for her aging mother -- 10 siblings as caretakers; a doctor, a lawyer and a geriatric social worker in the family; and multiple housing options from which to choose. Even with these resources and a carefully considered plan, this was not enough. Her mother experienced three broken hips (including two in one week), staffing issues that added to medical problems, continual shifts in housing to address changing care needs, medication complications, and sudden memory problems. The greatest frustrations and struggles though, have resulted from the bureaucracy of the elder care system, which culminated in a letter sent from the government telling the family members their mother was dead (she wasn't).

Julie Groshens wondered how families get through the maze of elder care options without a social-worker sibling to guide them. Nearly every day, she heard similar stories from colleagues, friends and family. So Groshens decided to form Elder Care Expos, LLC, a Minnesota-based company that produces elder-care resource events for the public.

On May 9 and 10, Groshens and her two partners will launch the Elder Care Expo 2008 in St. Paul, Minn. The expo will be held in the Education Building at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day.

"Elder Care Expo brings together many of the answers people like us are searching for -- in one place," says Groshens. "This kind of event is desperately needed. We hear stories everyday from people as young as 20-something who are caring for aging and sick parents. Yet they feel like they are alone in facing these challenges and are stressed out about the endless options. They just don't know where to start finding help.

"Tickets are only $8 per person for attending the expo and more than 90 educational sessions. We have deliberately kept the ticket price low so that those struggling with these issues can get the help they need in an affordable and accessible way," says Groshens.

Nationally, nearly 34 million caregivers provide help to persons age 50 and older. Elder Care Expo 2008 is designed to help the more than half-million Minnesota caregivers make more-informed care choices. "We are really encouraging family members to bring at least one other person with them, even a friend," says Groshens. "Having someone else to share ideas with creates a stronger support network. Plus, it gets us boomers talking about these questions for our own future."

The expo will showcase leading Minnesota vendors that provide products and services to help people make better elder care decisions. Current sponsors include Augustana Care Corporation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota and ACCRA Care Corp. As the Official Radio Sponsor, WCCO Radio will help Minnesotans explore the key challenges they are facing related to elder care.

Elder Care Expo 2008 features trusted resources about aging from the State of Minnesota, county agencies, community aging organizations and elder care experts. More than 90 information-packed educational sessions will focus on topics such as elder care basics; understanding insurance, financial and legal issues; navigating home healthcare issues; identifying and choosing the right housing; exploring Medicare Part D choices; and many other important issues. In addition, participants can receive a free long-term care consultation and leave the expo with a plan.

Find more information about attending, sponsoring or exhibiting at Elder Care Expo 2008 by visiting http://www.choosingeldercare.com or by calling (651) 204-0266. Expo tickets are $8 per person and can be purchased online or at the door.

About Elder Care Expo:
Elder Care Expo 2008 is produced by a team with more than 50 years of experience in consumer events, educational programming and gerontology. In addition, they have personally been involved with hospice volunteer work and caregiving to older family members, while raising children. Today, one in five adults is responsible for managing some aspect of the finances and/or healthcare of a family member who is 65 or older, and approximately 80 percent of home-care services are provided by family caregivers. Elder Care Expo is Minnesota's first-ever educational event designed to bring together government agencies, nonprofits and private organizations under one roof and with one simple goal: helping baby boomers, their parents and seniors plan for and find solutions for their elder care challenges. Elder Care Expos, LLC, also publishes the Choosing Elder Care blog at http://www.choosingeldercare.com/blog .

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STEVE DAHLBERG

Elder Care Expos LLC
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