Joplin, Mo – November is National Family Caregivers Month. More than 65 million people – 29% of the United States population – provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend during any given year. According to the Caregiver Action Network (the National Family Caregivers Association), these individuals spend an average of 20 hours per week providing care for their loved one.

Freeman Health System recognizes the stresses of the responsibility of being a caregiver. Each month, the Freeman Caregiver Support group offers advice and resources. Formed in March of 2021, the group has members from Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. Each month’s meeting includes an educational guest speaker, a question and answer opportunity, and small group discussions that answer participants’ questions or concerns.

“Support group members shared their needs with us when we first started,” said Freeman Community Health Worker Kathy Mason. “They are looking for everything from ways to relieve stress and find time for self-care, to ways to handle hygiene issues and locate aid and assistance for their loved ones. They enjoy being able to share their situations with others who can understand. And they also have some fun with a quick craft or game and a monthly door prize.”

This month, on November 18,  the Freeman Caregiver Support Group welcomes attorney Luke Boyer from the Boyer Law Firm to discuss options for planning a trust or will. He will also talk about the importance of having power of attorney documents.

Facilitated by Ozark Center Assistant Director of Adult Outpatient Services Jennifer Berry, MSW, LCSW, the support group meets from 10:30 am to 12:00 pm at Freeman East conference rooms. Physical distancing and mask wearing are practiced. Refreshments and door prizes are provided.

Please RSVP to Kathy Mason at kdmason@freemanhealth.com or call 417.347.8463.

About Freeman Health System

Locally owned, not-for-profit and nationally recognized, Freeman Health System includes Freeman Hospital West, Freeman Hospital East, Freeman Neosho Hospital and Ozark Center – the area’s largest provider of behavioral health services – as well as two urgent care clinics, dozens of physician clinics and a variety of specialty services. In 2020, Freeman earned dozens of individual awards for medical excellence and patient safety from CareChex®, a quality rating system that helps consumers evaluate healthcare providers. U.S. News & World Report named Freeman Health System the Best Hospital in Southwest Missouri for 2020-2021. With more than 320 physicians on staff representing more than 80 specialties, Freeman provides cancer care, heart care, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopaedics, children’s services and women’s services. Additionally, Freeman is the only Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in a 70-mile radius. For more information, visit freemanhealth.com.

Stroke Awareness Month is about to come to a close, but that is no reason to forget the lessons it teaches us. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, almost 800,000 people in America have a stroke each year.