Never Too Late - November 2022

Aging in Our Community A Message from W. Mark Clark, President and CEO

Family Caregiver Month November is just about my favorite month. We are finally in the midst of what passes for Fall here in Arizona. Elsewhere, it is getting downright chilly. And this is the month I grew up celebrating Thanksgiving. I was raised in the church that traces its American roots to the Mayflower Pilgrims. It wasn’t until a few years ago I discovered I actually have a Mayflower ancestor. I know well that the 1620 landing in Plymouth and the subsequent mistreatment of indigenous peoples have understandably changed the way many of us view the Thanksgiving holiday. But a key message of those many Thanksgiving Day church services over the years was about the importance of taking care of each other. And certainly, my ancestors would not have survived without the assistance of those indigenous people who chose, for a number of reasons, to support them - caretaking and caregiving for sure. I mention all this because, as you will note, November is National Family Caregiver month. Caregiving is life extending and lifesaving. You will read in this edition much more about the many ways in which PCOA supports caregivers, both paid and those caring for family and friends. One key way we can help is by offering our education and training services to new caregivers. And another is our support groups, which are now offered both virtually and in-person.

Additionally, in late September PCOA’s Dementia Capable Southern Arizona program launched its workplace caregiver support pilot program, “Empowering Caregivers.” Staff at Interfaith Community Services and Jewish Family and Children’s Services are participating in this employer sponsored, lunch-and-learn program offering tools to empower caregivers. This pilot program was built using curriculum from the evidence-based Powerful Tools for Caregivers program. PCOA continues to develop partnerships with other businesses and community groups in Pima County to offer this important program on a broader scale. I’ve been wanting to offer an employer sponsored program like this for a number of years and am looking forward to its wide expansion. As I noted above, paid Direct Care Workers are also caregivers who are extremely important to our mission at PCOA. We are playing a very active role through our Direct Care Workforce recruitment and training efforts, including asking prospective workers to sign up for caregiver training resources and opportunities with the United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona at This demonstration program covers all the costs of becoming an employment-ready direct care worker. While there continues to be a shortage of qualified Direct Care Workers, PCOA’s Friends and Neighbors program allows older adults opportunities for self-directed care by paying for a family member

or a close friend to provide care. This innovative solution helps cut back on waiting list times for the limited pool of professional caregivers. I want to close by reminding everyone of the importance of participating in the PCOA Community Needs Assessment. This is an extensive effort to listen to the community, both older adults themselves and others who are concerned for them. You may know we normally do this assessment every four years, but because of the pandemic, it’s been six years since we undertook the last one. By now we are in the final stages of collecting data and hearing from folks, but there is still time to participate. See pages 21 and 29 to get more information on how you can give your input. It is so very important, and we widely share the information we gather with policymakers both locally and nationally. And, finally, speaking of important, don’t forget to vote. There is nearly nothing more important right now than exercising this most fundamental right. It’s probably too late to mail those early ballots but you can always vote the old school way (as they say) by going to the polls, or dropping your early ballot off by election day, November 8th.

W.Mark Clark President & CEO

November 2022, Never Too Late | Page 3

Pima Council on Aging

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