Notre Dame hosts workshop for overwhelmed caregivers

Notre Dame hosts a caregiver workshop.

Sometimes we all need a little help, but some of the people who need care the most aren't necessarily the people you'd think of first, they're caregivers.

According to the CDC more than half of caregivers report not having time to go to the doctor or to take care of themselves.

The Community Relations Department at Notre Dame recognized that, and hosted "Walking Alongside: A Navigation Conference for Family Caregivers."

45 community members attended the caregiver workshop.

While they came from different backgrounds, they had one thing in common, they all care for a loved one who can no longer care for themselves.

The idea for the workshop came from Jackie Rucker, Director of Community Relations at the college, who suddenly became her dad's full-time caregiver.

"There were just so many questions that I had," she said. "How am I going to go to work and make sure he’s taken care of while I’m at work? Are there programs that we qualify for?"

Rucker realized others were in the same boat, they felt overwhelmed.

"They just don’t know where to start or who to talk to," said Rucker.

After Margaret Brewer's mother suffered a stroke, she and her brother became their mom's caregiver.

"I completely lost my life, and now I just think about her first. It's just like having a child when you first have a baby" said Brewer. "You don’t know where to start."

There were classes on Medicare, Medicaid, how to handle someone else's money, Hospice, and more.

And at the end of the two day program, there was a resource fair.

"It’s cool to know that there are government program and community programs that are created to support us when we need help, and that we are not expected to pull ourselves up from our boot straps," said Linda Raven, who has family members in need of care.

The program also provided something else for the caregivers, support.

"It is very comforting, just when I walked in, when I first set down, I think I felt a tear come to my eye and I felt like I wasn’t by myself," said Brewer. "There are other people here that are all going through similar situations."

Rucker says she is anticipating the program to grow. Programs are already calling her to be a part of the next one.

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