Posted on December 1, 2021
STRATFORD – Today lawmakers, caregivers, and advocates gathered at the Baldwin Center to recognize November as National Family Caregivers Month and honor those who give of themselves to care for their loved ones.
In recognition of today as both “Giving Tuesday” and the final day of National Family Caregivers Month, Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford) was joined by Representatives Phil Young (D-Stratford), Joe Gresko (D-Stratford), and David Wilson (R-66), the Southwestern CT Agency on Aging, The Kennedy Center, AARP CT, CT’s Long Term Care Ombudsman Mairead Painter, and family caregivers and advocates to raise awareness and honor caregivers for both seniors and individuals with disabilities.
“Family caregivers give love, they give compassion, they give commitment and dedication, they give so much of themselves to help others stay safe, healthy, and live life with dignity,” said Sen. Kelly (R-Stratford), Ranking Member of the state’s Aging Committee. “In a season of giving, in a time of thanks, it is essential that we thank and honor family caregivers. More than that, we also must renew our commitment to help caregivers however we can.”
“With November being National Family Caregiver Month, today was the perfect day to honor those that dedicate their lives for the wellbeing of others and say thank you to them for all they do,” said Rep. David Wilson (R-Litchfield), Ranking Member of the Aging Committee. “I think it was very important for us to all come together to share stories, unique experiences and challenges that our caregivers face. I want to thank them personally for all that they do for those in our communities that need it the most- they are indeed on the front lines.”
“I want to recognize caregivers throughout Connecticut during National Family Caregiver Month for all the work they do to help support their loved ones and especially for the sacrifices they made during the pandemic,” said Sen. Patricia Billie Miller (D-Stamford), Senate Chair of the Aging Committee. “Caregivers should be celebrated each and every month for the time they dedicate to helping both seniors and individuals with disabilities. I want to personally thank those who go above and beyond to do such a selfless act every day.”
“Caregivers play a vital role in preserving the quality of life of our aging population,” said Rep. Quentin “Q” Phipps (D-Middletown), House Chair of the Aging Committee. “I commend their work and commitment to their profession.”
The lawmakers were joined by Tammy Trojanowski, Stratford Senior Center Director; Maire Allen, Executive Director of the Southwestern CT Agency on Aging (SWCAA); Kathleen Regan, Community Services Director Community Supports SWCAA; Richard Sebastian, President & CEO of The Kennedy Center; Anna Doroghazi from AARP CT; and the Connecticut Long Term Care Ombudsman Mairead Painter.
Also in attendance were multiple family caregivers and advocates including Carolyn Fernandes, Mary Hall, Denise Orgarro, Shakim Simmons, Pat Bright, Rich Bright, Mike Klein, Byron Peterson, and Fran Sinish.
Ms. Sinish spoke about being a family caregiver to her adult son, and reflected on the importance of self-care for caregivers, sharing the following quote: “An empty lantern provides no light. Self care is the fuel that allows your light to shine brightly.”
The lawmakers spoke about the importance of working in the state legislature to enhance supports for family caregivers and service providers who work directly with elderly and disabled individuals.