FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 14, 2009

CONTACT: Tom Plante, (908) 527-4746
Sebastian D’Elia, (908) 527-4419

 

Union County Continues to Bring Art to Family Caregivers

 

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to announce the eighth-year renewal of its innovative program to bring the arts to the homes of full-time unpaid family caregivers of care recipients over 60 years of age.

“The time and energy-consuming responsibilities of full-time family caregivers often prevent them from participating in the arts they love,” said Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski, liaison to the Cultural and Heritage Programs Advisory Board. “The talent and diversity of our artists assures a fulfilling creative experience for the caregivers.”

The free program will provide artists to come to the caregiver’s home in a series of visits, bringing art that is personalized to suit their individual needs and interests. Some examples of visits include: writers to help document family stories or teach how to keep a journal; live musical performances, to share with friends or each other; portraits done from life or favorite photographs; art projects for caregivers and care recipients to do together; lessons in drawing, watercolor, keyboard playing, and drama.

“Recent studies have shown that the stress of long-term care-giving responsibilities can have detrimental effects on the health and emotional well being of the caregiver,” said Freeholder Chester Holmes, liaison to the Advisory Council on Aging. “This program is intended to relieve that stress while it exercises the caregiver’s creativity.”

In addition to caring for a family member, the caregiver may also work a full-time job outside the home. As long as the care recipient is older than 60 and both people live in Union County, they are eligible. While focused on the caregiver, the program can benefit everyone in the family.

The Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs is coordinating this unique program, which is made possible by grants from the Union County Division on Aging and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. The program is free to caregivers; however, voluntary donations are gratefully accepted and used to expand the program.

For more information about arts in the home, contact the Union County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs, 633 Pearl Street, Elizabeth 07202. Telephone: (908) 558-2550. NJ Relay users dial 711. Or send E-mail to: culturalinfo@ucnj.org.