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Free Caregivers Conference Planned for March 30 at UMM

Added on: February 22, 2012

MACHIAS, Maine – Providing resources and expert advice to family caregivers will be the focus of a free one-day conference scheduled for March 30 at the University of Maine at Machias.

The event, which is open to caregivers and their families, begins at 8 a.m. on Friday, March 30. “Caregivers Conference: For Those Who Care For The Ones They Love” is being coordinated by UMM’s Office of Community Services.

Keynote speaker for the conference will be Marjorie Withers, director of the Community Caring Collaborative, a network of tribal, state, and community agencies and members that work for the care of infants, young children, and their families who are at risk due to multiple factors. A mental health professional for more than 32 years, Withers’ passion is working with families, infants, and children to increase wellness and reduce risk factors specifically in rural areas and tribal communities by helping to develop coping skills and supports. She is also an experienced caretaker, who helped care for her parents and niece in the final years of their lives.

Caregivers Conference imageOther session speakers will include Barbara Barnett, director of Down East Hospice; Claire Cullinane, retired special education teacher; and Lisa King, caregiver support specialist for the Eastern Area Agency on Aging and social services director/admissions coordinator at the Maine Veterans’ Home in Machias. All conference speakers have had experience working with caregivers or providing direct care for family members.

The event will also include a resource fair that will highlight the work of area agencies and the resources that are available to caregivers. Exhibitors scheduled to attend include the Eastern Area Agency on Aging, University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Senior Companion Program, Washington-Hancock Community Agency, Oceanview Nursing and Residential Care, Living Innovations, and the Maine Veterans’ Home of Machias.

“Caregivers need to know that support and resources are available in the community,” says event organizer Naida Pennell, coordinator of community services at UMM. “This conference will benefit both current caregivers and those who expect to care for family members in the future.”

For more information or to register for the free conference, contact Naida Pennell at 255-1289 or You can also REGISTER ONLINE. The conference registration deadline is March 15. Local agencies interested in being an exhibitor are encouraged to contact Pennell as soon as possible due to the limited space available.

The conference is co-sponsored by UMM, Aramark Corporation, and the Eastern Area Agency on Aging through the Weinberg Foundation Grant for Caregiving, and supported by Psychology & Community Studies students from the PSY 324 Lifespan II and BEH 450 Senior Project courses.


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