65 Million Caregivers Have a New Ally

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Empowered Caregiver Network launches phone-based "virtual support groups" for caregivers to address challenges together.

If [caregivers] don't take care of themselves first, they cannot possibly care for their loved ones successfully for the long haul.

The Empowered Caregiver Network, a new organization to support family caregivers worldwide, will begin conducting monthly “virtual support groups” on June 26.

“In the United States alone, more than 65 million caregivers support their dependent loved ones day in and day out with precious little assistance from existing health care organizations or local communities,” said Jay Kraker, founder of the Empowered Caregiver Network. “ECN is designed to help fill that void.”

The group’s mission is to “foster understanding of the needs of family caregivers worldwide, and to support the fulfillment of those needs however it can.”

The first ECN Virtual Support Group for caregivers will be held from 4 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) Sunday, June 26. Any caregiver may participate free by registering at http://bit.ly/ljpYEN.

Each Virtual Support Group will begin with a 20-minute expert presentation on a caregiving topic. This will be followed by a one-hour “mutual support” session, during which caregivers will meet in small groups to discuss issues they face every day. As these discussions unfold, caregivers may request and discover solutions from others in the group to help address some of their challenges.

“Many caregivers cannot find sufficient time away from their loved ones to take care of themselves,” explained Kraker, who has served as primary caregiver for his wife, Susan, for 21 years. “Yet, if we do not take care of ourselves first, we cannot possibly care for our loved ones successfully for the long haul.

“That’s one reason the concept of Virtual Support Groups is so powerful and essential within the caregiver community. All a caregiver has to do to participate in a Virtual Support Group is to make a phone call and join the conversation.”

In addition to providing Virtual Support Groups and a blog for caregivers, ECN will facilitate the formation of local chapters of Empowered Caregivers,” said Kraker. “Those who are interested in participating in, or leading, a caregiver group in their community can express interest by providing their contact information to ECN.

Beginning later this summer, sponsorship opportunities will be made available for local and international ECN programs.

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Jay Kraker

Anna (Jamie) Roark
Empowered Caregiver Network
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