On Monday, August 12, 2013, Care for Elders in partnership with the Harris County Area Agency on Aging and the United Way of Greater Houston sponsored the Fall 2013 Direct Care Workers Conference. This conference was a continuation from the Spring 2013 Direct Care Workers conference, which for 16 consecutive years has provided training for front-line staff that work with older adults. The conference also recognizes the significant contributions these front-line employees make to improve the quality of life for the individuals they serve. The conference, held at the United Way of Greater Houston, was attended by 155 direct care workers representing 38 agencies. “Direct care workers are everyday heroes who perform a very difficult but immeasurably valuable service. It has been said that the moral test of our society is how we take care of our most vulnerable, and direct care workers meet this challenge every day, “ said Joshua Reynolds, Director of Care for Elders.
Dr. Summer F. Odom from Texas A&M University gave the keynote address, facilitating a strengths-based perspective, which leads direct care workers to daily successes in working with the older adults they serve. “I hope my presentation about focusing on your strengths will enable direct care workers to be truly engaged in the work they do and ultimately improve the quality of life for the clients they serve,” said Dr. Summer F. Odom. The conference also included five educational workshops, providing participants with knowledge in the following areas: caring for the caregiver, epilepsy, financial education and management, dementia care, and safe transfer training.
Care for Elders recognized seven individuals at the conference luncheon who submitted essays for the ‘Answering the Call for Excellence’ Award. The inaugural award acknowledged the requirement of excellence that direct care workers must demonstrate in every facet of their job to helping older adults manage the challenges they face. The two award winners were Lucille Daniels from Sheltering Arms Senior Services/ Neighborhood Centers Inc. and Shonda Scriven from Reach Unlimited, Inc. “I was amazed that so many answered the call, and the essays were beautifully written and heartfelt. I know that the award winners were ecstatic, but it was clear to me that everyone in that room felt like they had won an award by being able to attend the fun and meaningful day with their colleagues,” said Lynda Collins, chair of the Care for Elders Leadership Council. The Conference and Care for Elders staff also thank the conference planning committee and all of the partners that helped make the conference successful, as well as Silverado Senior Living who sponsored the conference luncheon.
The 17th Annual Conference will be on Tuesday, April 8, 2014 at the United Way of Greater Houston. Information for the next conference will be available on Care for Elders’ website www.careforelders.org in late Fall 2013.