1st Caregiver Retreat 2019
Nestled in the beauty of the Smoky Mountains, the Tennessee Hemophilia and Bleeding Disorders Foundation held its first annual Caregivers Retreat at the Edgewater Inn on November 8 - 9, 2019, in Gatlinburg, TN. We want to give a special “thank you” to CVS Specialty Pharmacy for the success of this event.
The purpose of this event was to empower and inspire caregivers as they meet the needs of their families. Times of refreshment are often elusive based on the demands of life.
On Friday, we enjoyed a delicious dinner which was followed by a presentation by Julia Mason on “Taking Care of Yourself.” After this, our group began an adventurous photo scavenger hunt through downtown Gatlinburg. Even though it was rather chilly, we had a fun time. During this scavenger hunt, each person was challenged to buy a small gift for their partner to express their appreciation to them.
After breakfast on Saturday, we heard Nika Eshetu share her amazing story of “Healthy Living in a Chronic Disease Lifestyle.” She then taught our group several stretching and breathing exercises to help us relax.
Next, was another great practical session on “How to Cope with Advanced Stress” by Yota Dermati from Hemophilia Federation of America. She challenged us to set goals for ourselves to help reduce stress.
After lunch, we learned a traditional Greek dance. You had to have been there! Robb Williamson then shared personal stories on how to see the big picture of caregiving. Then, Pat Morgan gave the story of her caregiving experience. We finished the day with a slide show and prizes for the scavenger hunt from Friday night.
As caregivers, respite care is vital for the strength of our families. This Caregiver Retreat or getaway was and is a great tool for us to intentionally spend time together as a couple, as well as with our extended THBDF family. We laughed and we cried but most importantly we came away refreshed and reassured to keep ongoing. As caregivers, we need to take care of ourselves and our relationship with each other in order to take care of our family and those we love.
The strength of our Foundation is our community. Through our first annual Caregivers Retreat, our community grew stronger. The value of this event has already been evident through the smiles, hugs, laughter, and tears seen on the faces of our community members.