Outagamie County educator Karen Dickrell responded to the needs of the aging population in the county with a Caregiver Coalition which launched a Caregiver Café. Recently she shared her experience and key learning.
The first piece of advice from Karen is that building a community coalition takes time and involved many different players at the table. She has been working with this project for over 5 years beginning with the survey to identify needs. The Age Wave presentation was given in various settings and the group worked together to do resource fairs. From this initial work blossomed other projects including the Caregiver Café last winter.
The Caregiver Café promoted conversation on topics that mattered, provided opportunity for learning and coaching, rather than teaching, and acknowledged everyone’s role in building health communities and healthy families.
Throughout their time together participants were encouraged to write, doodle and draw with materials found at the table.
The ground rules for their time together:
- Focus on what matters to you.
- Contribute your thinking.
- Speak your mind and heart
- Listen to understand
- Link and connect ideas.
- Listen together for insights and deeper questions
The Caregiver Café was a great success in building relationships in the community and providing some time of respite for the attendees.
Contact Karen Dickrell for more information about the Outagamie Caregiver Coalition and Café.