So, what's new? Well, at least a few things are either brand new, sort of new, or not so new but not yet well-known. Sounds like life, sometimes.

Anyway, on to "things." What's brand new? A Caregiver Support Group meeting locally in south Pacific County.

Before you get ready to contact me and let me know that there has been a Caregiver Support group down here for a long time, let me clarify. Yes there has been a family caregiver group that has been meeting successfully for a long time, and it has been a real strength to those who have participated. It's also not uncommon to find various other support groups related to specific groups or issues. In general, however, many of these provide support to non-paid caregivers. I guess the idea is that getting paid to provide care might be enough compensation - or at least reduce some of the burn-out process. Maybe. Sometimes.

The Caregiver Support group starting up is for paid and unpaid caregivers, because if you think about it, every caregiver faces similar pressures, demands, and yes - burnout. The only difference I've observed over the years is that often paid caregivers may have more than one client, and this alone breaks some of the routine. However, I've also seen that paid caregivers generally just hit the wall at a slower rate, but that same wall of weariness is an equal opportunity obstacle.

On July 19 there will be a Caregiver Social, open to all caregivers, at the Long Beach Retirement Center. Times are set for 4:30 p.m. through 7 p.m. The folks who put this together come from a variety of agencies, and all recognize the need for support and, well, recognition. Food and guest speakers are on the agenda. No matter what you might think about guest speakers, food is always good!

And what's "sort of new?" How about Rebuilding Together? This last week's Chinook Observer had a great article on Rebuilding Together, a group of volunteers associated with the national program. Without repeating everything in the article, suffice it to say that the program is designed for folks who are unable to do the work they need to do in order to keep their home safe and are also unable to pay to have the work done. This group has been active since their running start this year. By the time this column runs, they will have had an open-to-the-public luncheon at the Peninsula Senior Center, coinciding with a visit from the national headquarters of Rebuilding Together. Referrals are made through our Long Beach office, so give us a call for more information.

What's not so new, but not yet well known? Well, probably lots of things, but how about WIN 211? As you may recall from previous columns, or from recent community meetings, flyers, articles, etc., WIN 211 is the Washington Information Network and 211 is the number to call for health or safety issues and referrals. It works like 411 for directory assistance and has a statewide database for your convenience and safety. It could prevent you from making lots of calls to lots of places, and talking to lots of automated phone directories. Always a good thing.

That's just a few updates regarding how folks in our communities are spending time and energy to help each other. I like it. It sounds like community.

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