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Caregivers get a timeout at RiverCourt Residences event

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GROTON — Nearly 100 people who spend both professional and personal time caring for the elderly were recently honored at a special event. RiverCourt Residences, of Groton, hosted an evening reception that included soothing piano music, a variety of wine tastings and hors d’oeuvres, complimentary massages and free manicures.

The well-deserved break was offered to those who serve seniors; including members of local councils on aging, visiting nurses, hospice workers, geriatric care professionals, volunteers and family caregivers from 12 surrounding communities.

“We are proud to sponsor this annual event and want to reward people for what they do every day,” said Matt Spear, director of marketing at RiverCourt. The focus on spiritual and physical well-being featured several holistic offerings from The Natural Market in Groton. Owner Joan Reardon combines her experience as a registered nurse with extensive studies in herbal medicine, holistic health, aromatherapy and whole food nutrition to promote a healthy lifestyle.

Town officials, community leaders, clergy and hospital VIPs were on hand to honor those who give so much of themselves to care for others, a task that Maura Ferrigno, executive director at RiverCourt said deserves more praise. “Health care and human services workers rarely get a chance to get together and say ‘thanks’ and it’s so important to nurture the nurturer.”

According to “A Practical Guide to Caring for Caregivers,” published by the American Academy of Family Physicians, caregivers are at an increased risk for depression and anxiety. Caregivers should pay special attention to their level of burden, and seek behavioral management techniques and coping strategies as needed to help them deal with this challenging role.

In addition to the three hour “timeout” event designed to remind caregivers that their own personal wellness is important, RiverCourt also offers ongoing support and informational programs.

Nancy Sorbo, a bereavement coordinator at Beacon Hospice in Leominster, said she would be back to RiverCourt on June 4 to present the film “There is a Bridge.” The showing — open to all interested family, caregivers and staff — will help people learn how to connect with those who suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease. Sorbo couldn’t help but talk about the significance of reaching those who sometimes seem so out of touch, even though she was treating herself to a manicure and temporary escape from her demanding job.

RiverCourt Residences is a long-term assisted living facility that also offers professional Respite Care — short-term care that gives families a break from the daily routine and stress associated with caring for a loved one.

Anyone who may need support in this area can find additional resources at the Connection for Caregivers section on www.seniorconnection.org as well as your local Council on Aging organization.

RiverCourt Residences is located at 8 West Main St., in West Groton. For more information and a tour of the facility call (978) 448-4122 or visit www.rivercourtresidences.com.