Do you have a chronically ill family member or friend in your life? There is help coming soon.

This morning we had Shirley Vaughn, Project Coordinator for the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque in-studio, along with Gretchen Brown, the CEO for Stonehill Communities, who told us about this exciting new project.

The Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque is an organization that holds endowment funds for non-profits in our community through much-needed initiatives, funded by donors and philanthropists that make things happen.

Their latest project is a new Caregiver Resource Center. Shirley acknowledged that caregiving for a loved one with a chronic illness is both physically and emotionally exhausting. It can be downright overwhelming at times!

Jim Theisen is a local businessman who also cares greatly for our community. His wife, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, had a vision for a center in Dubuque where caregivers could go to feel supported and access the resources they need.

Through Jim's generous contributions (and yours), this Caregiver Resource Center will become a reality for our region's dedicated caregivers. It will be a place for non-professionals who care for their loved ones to go for an array of resources... most of which will be available at little to no cost!

Plans for the center include educational, medical, and legal resources. You'll find social work assistance and support groups, too, which will all be housed at the Stonehill Communities. Caregivers will also have access to social workers, the Stonehill wellness center, and other feel-good programs.

Gretchen says the involvement of Stonehill Communities is kind of a no-brainer. Through their work with many residents experiencing chronic illnesses or in their Memory Care Unit, they see new people come in with family members who are clearly exhausted and seeking assistance and resources for the care of their loved ones.

Gretchen also mentioned that if she was correct, the Caregiver Resource Center would also be just one of two in the state of Iowa. Stonehill Communities is really proud to partner with the Theisen endowment and the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque to bring all of these resources to the table.

For instance, their Social Services staff could consult on living wills and end-of-life decisions. They'll be able to give financial, legal and clinical answers and how to best navigate the healthcare systems. What doctor do you turn to? What questions do you ask? Sometimes they will be on hand to simply give family members a hand or a hug.

Stonehill Communities has recently hired a new coordinator to run the operations at the center, Jolene Koopmann, who will be ready to rock as everything picks up on October 18th.

Why do we need the Caregiver Resource Center? Shirley says that 78% of adults that are in need of long-term care in our community rely solely on family and friends for help. There are 53 million unpaid family caregivers who work alongside approximately 6 million professional caregivers, so a lot of the responsibility of care falls on the family.

1-in-5 adults are caregivers and 1-in-6 non-caregivers will find themselves becoming one in the next 2 years. You need a resource center and a place to go for help!

The Theisen family has also told the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque if they fundraise one million dollars for the new center, they will match that one million dollars! Shirley says that two million dollars would fund this new valuable center for many years to come!

Full information on the Caregiver Resource Center will be available soon in the Telegraph Herald. You can call the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque at 563-588-2700 or visit their WEBSITE. You could also call the Stonehill Communities at 563-557-7180, or visit their WEBSITE.


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