WATERLOO, Iowa – Providing long-term care for a loved one can take a physical, emotional and financial toll on the caregiver and the person receiving the care, and can affect their community as a whole. Through the Finances of Caregiving workshop series, a mother and her daughter learned how to face this challenge together. Then they encouraged the broader African American community to learn as well.
The Finances of Caregiving workshop series helps families with many issues related to providing care for a loved one, said Jeannette Mukayisire, a human sciences specialist in family finance with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.
Mukayisire and other human sciences specialists in family finance teach this series of five, two-hour workshops. The workshops cover the importance of planning ahead, wills, living wills and durable power of attorney for health care and financial matters, planning financially for caregiving, paying for care, and effective communication.
“The Finances of Caregiving provides insights into the caregiving role. It provides a framework to examine the family and the community’s approach to the caregiving responsibility,” Mukayisire said.
After attending the first workshop in the series, Aretha White, 99, asked her daughter, Inez Murtha, to attend with her.
“Both ladies needed to learn more about what would be involved in taking care of Aretha. Inez and her mother both signed up for the class and learned together what challenges they might have to handle in the future. Inez felt the class information was just what she needed, and it was offered at the right time in her life. She was just entering retirement after many years of working,” Mukayisire said.
Murtha said, “Like many single parents, I worried about my children’s well-being and future. I knew one illness or accident could leave my family financially devastated or worse, without their mother to care for them. I also worried how my children would take care of me during my senior years, if my financial resources were limited.
“I did not want to be a burden to my children,” Murtha continued. “I have been working on solutions to my worries. Finances of Caregiving training has been enlightening and has helped fill in the gap in my life plan. I highly recommend the training.”
Murtha also wanted others to benefit from the Finances of Caregiving. According to Mukayisire, “Inez felt that the class should be offered to other African American community members. She contacted her church and made arrangements for the class to be offered to anyone interested. Thirteen people signed up and completed the training in March 2019.”
Offering the workshop series is another result of the partnership between ISU Extension and Outreach and the Jesse Cosby Neighborhood Center in Waterloo. For more than 50 years, the center has been a multicultural, multigenerational service provider for individuals and families throughout Black Hawk County. It was established to honor Jesse Lee Cosby, a local resident who worked to provide activities for youth and elderly people in the neighborhood.
“The collaboration between ISU Extension and Outreach and the Jesse Cosby Center has been a great partnership,” said Jesse C. Henderson, center director.
“I have been a caregiver, taking care of my 95-year-old mother for over 10 years, and taking the Finances of Caregiving class has provided me so much more insight on how to care for my mother and how to better prepare for my future, as well,” Henderson added.
Since 2018, more than 50 people have participated in human sciences educational programs from ISU Extension and Outreach at the Jesse Cosby Center.
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