The WellMed Charitable Foundation had its biggest turnout ever at the 2019 Caregiver Summit: The Empowered Caregiver, with about 360 attendees attending for support, education and lunch Friday, Nov. 1 at the Whitley Theological Center in San Antonio, Texas.
The Foundation started the Caregiver Summit, now in its sixth year, to provide education, access to resources and support to both family caregivers and professionals.
It was the first Caregiver Summit for 66-year-old Beverly Cordova. She became the caregiver for her 71-year-old husband after he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and atrial fibrillation almost two years ago.
Cordova was especially interested in what speaker Dr. S. Liliana Oakes, executive director of geriatrics and palliative care specialist for WellMed, had to say about caregivers caring for themselves.
“I was amazed and so glad she gave that talk. I had a lot of questions — what to do to cope, to do better for myself,” Cordova said. “It made me realize if I’m not OK, he’s not going to be OK.”
Other speakers included Sheila Warnock, founder and president of ShareTheCargiving, Inc., a nonprofit that educates friends and family on how to provide care as a group; and Dr. Tam Cummings, a nationally recognized educator in the field of dementia. Carol Bertsch, PC Elder Law Attorney, also conducted a question-and-answer session, providing legal advice on a variety of issues.
It was through the Foundation’s Caregiver SOS program that Cordova met Cindy Robles, family caregiver specialist at WCF, who told her about the Caregiver Summit and services that the non-profit and other agencies in San Antonio offer.
“It’s been rough, but I’m working really hard on myself,” Cordova said. “And now I don’t feel like I’m all alone.”
For more information about the free caregiver services of the WellMed Charitable Foundation, visit www.CaregiverSOS.org.