As a follow up to my post from last week, it was evident that there is definitely a need for support resources for family and friends who are caregivers. The event, Preventing Caregiver Burnout, sponsored by Assemblyman Keith L. T. Wright in partnership with the Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNS), was well attended and revealed an array of relatives and friends that provide endless support to their loved ones. Listening to the stories of the level and intensity of care provided by these folks, was touching and quite an eye opener for an area that is only going to increase in demand. Many of the stories involved caregivers who are assisting not only one but multiple family members or those that are dealing with medical issues themselves.
An introduction presented by Councilwoman Inez Dickens, reinforced the importance of recognizing the issue of burnout among caregivers. A VNS representative followed up with alarming statistics for this population. Here are just a few examples of who are the caregivers in the United States:
65 Million, or 29%, of Americans each year
38% are adults caring for elderly parents
11% are spouses
14% are parents with special needs children
Women represent 2/3 of all family caregivers
13% provide 40 hours of care per week
$375 billion in estimated “free” services
In the New York Metropolitan Area…
1 in 5 adults provide family care
1 million family caregivers total
46% have provided care for more than 5 years
More than 50% employed full time
52% of caregivers experience injuries
The subsequent presenters disseminated information from a nursing and social worker’s perspective. They provided concrete ideas for alleviating physical and emotional stress, understanding and reducing errors in medication administration, preventing physical injuries while assisting with mobility, resistance from the home bound loved ones, and resources for dealing with the complexities of navigating Medicaid and Medicare services.
A Question and Answer period allowed participants an opportunity to express their concerns and ask relevant questions specific to their own situations. This seminar also encouraged caregivers to network among themselves and share resources.
The morning was filled with practical and helpful information but equally important was, the opportunity for caregivers to be seen and heard in a community setting.
With the increase in the aging, disabled, and chronically ill populations, there is an expanding need for caregivers. Families are faced with the daunting task of locating, employing, and leaving their loved ones in the hands of someone who may or may not have been adequately trained. Relatives who elect to provide this form of care to family members are often subjected to elevated levels of stress, leading to burnout.
I didn’t go to Harlem Tavern on the opening night as it was just too packed. After passing by on several occasions, I finally ventured in to enjoy a mid-afternoon lunch. Well, I couldn’t have picked a better time as the service was great and my meal was cooked to perfection. When I spoke with the server, it appears that the restaurant has made numerous changes since it opened in early July. With a condensed menu, the kitchen is now able to concentrate on maintaining consistency and will gradually introduce new dishes.
Restaurants in this neighborhood seem to come and go. Those that remain open have accomplished a challenging task—accommodating the varying palates in this blended community. My outdoor dining experience with Harlem Tavern was a pleasant surprise and I look forward to returning to an expanded menu.
I remember when I first moved to Harlem, empty lots, vacant store fronts, and limited housing appeared to be the norm. The long time residents sure seemed to know where the hot spots were but being the newbie, I resorted to a trial and error approach. Some ventures were delightful finds, others, not so great. Frequently, a business would open and then, disappear without warning. So whenever I found an establishment that lived beyond the one month mark I made a note and attempted to become a loyal customer.
One business that has maintained its existence is the MCMB Cleaners. From the first time I dropped off my dry cleaning to several years later, I have never been disappointed. My laundry has always been delivered as promised with good results. The staff has never lost or misplaced my order (which happened at another cleaner) and alterations were completed within a reasonable time frame.
Recently, I asked to have an alteration redone. Although the initial work was performed as requested, I changed my mind regarding the finished length of a garment. To my surprise the tailor, Alberto, did not charge me for the extra work. He stated that he wanted to make sure his customers were satisfied.
I have only had positive experiences with this business. Along with the excellent service, I am always greeted by a warm and friendly staff. The first person you encounter is Rolando. His pleasant nature and willingness to accommodate you is not dependent on how often you drop off your cleaning. Behind the sewing machine is Alberto, who makes a point to stop what ever he is working on and welcomes you with a big smile and “Hello.”
As the neighborhood expands newer businesses have opened their doors but I will continue to patronize MCMB Cleaners.