Michigan caregiver training program offers strategies, answers for those taking care of loved ones long term

For most of us, we’re not prepared to be a caregiver if we’ve never done it before. The different levels of organization, time and energy.

It can be hard to adjust.

But there’s a pilot program here in Michigan at the Area Agency on Aging 1-B to bring coaches to caregivers.

For Laura Gee, caring for her husband miles after a stroke. She learned how to get organized, quickly.

“When he’s got a doctor’s appointment I have to go with him because he can’t remember what they’ve said. he can’t process what they’re saying,” said Gee.

For Beth Griffith Manley finding help for her mom with dementia was paramount.

“I think everyone feels in the beginning this is my mom I can handle this. and then you have to work and then you have to go to the grocery store. you have to get your hair done. There’s little things in life that you do and you start to realize you do need someone to help you,” said Manley.

These little details of caregiving, make all the difference and no one teaches you - caregivers sometimes have to figure it out on their own. But there are resources to help our caregivers. No matter where they are in the journey.

Julie Lowenthal coordinates volunteer and caregiver services at the area agency on agency 1-B which covers all of southeast Michigan except Detroit, which has its own dedicated agency.

Read: Christy McDonald: Local caregivers share stories of love, struggle in our new series

“Because a lot of caregivers don’t self-identify, they wait until its almost too late to get connected to the various resources that are available to them and there are so many resources out there,” said Lowenthal.

1-B is now piloting a caregiving coach program, the second of its kind in the country.

Sherrie Cook is one of the new coaches. She helps come up with questions for doctor’s appointments, strategies for placing people in long-term care and finding the right programs.

There is an 800 number to connect to the resource center and if you’re interested in a caregiving coach to help you navigate. Head over to micaregivercoach.org or aaa1b.org.

Resources for Michigan caregivers: Where to find help, guidance

About the Author:

Christy McDonald is an Emmy-Award winning TV anchor and journalist who has covered news in Detroit and Michigan for 25 years before joining WDIV in 2022.