Judith Ewing, MFT, Receives Individual Award

By Laurie Mason
Program & Communications Coordinator

Friendship Center is proud to announce it was awarded “Caregiver of the Year” for a facility by the Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens Area Agency on Aging in honor of Older Americans Month.

“Friendship Center has been very successful in providing live virtual classes five days a week,” writes Sue Larsen of Gulley and Larsen Insurance Services, who nominated FC for the award. “The center also provides technical support and advice to family caregivers as needed.”

Sue also credits FC’s monthly drive-in parking lot parties, pen pal letter campaign, weekly phone calls and virtual caregiver support groups for helping prevent caregiver burn-out during the pandemic quarantine.

“It’s an honor to receive this recognition from the Older Americans Month’s 2021 Celebration because Friendship Center has been working for 43 years to provide education, training, support and respite care to family caregivers,” says Executive Director Heidi Holly.

“Our mission of caring for members with dementia and other health conditions in a supportive, creative and safe environment is very important to this community. This past year we have worked diligently to continue our mission through the use of live virtual classes, drive-in activities, home delivery of take care totes and weekly phone calls to ensure the health and safety of our members.”

Judith and Joe Ewing enjoy a pre-pandemic Western Day at Friendship Center.

 

Judith Ewing, MFT, a Partner, Information Source and Caregiver

Judith Ewing, MFT, whose spouse is a Friendship Center member, was awarded individual “Caregiver of the Year.” In her nomination, FC Operations Director Ellen Willis-Conger writes, “While caring for a spouse with dementia, Ms. Ewing continues to support other caregivers and members of the dementia community with online engagement, encouragement, and partnership in activities.”

Notes FC Family Services Manager Kim Larsen, “Judith is an amazing woman. She goes out of her way to help other family caregivers in need, counselling them on best practices for dealing with dementia-related issues. She was a caregiver to her mother and mother-in-law, both of whom suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease and she’s been caring for her husband Joe who developed the disease about five years ago.”

Each May the United States celebrates Older Americans Month (OEM). That might come as a surprise to many, but in 1963 when the month was designated, only 9 percent of Americans had reached their 65th birthdays. In 2021, it’s closer to 17 percent, in a trend projected to spike upward to 20.6 percent by 2030, according to Statistica.com. We could start hearing about it more, and that’s a good thing.

“Through their experiences, successes, and difficulties, they have built resilience that helps them to face new challenges,” Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens Area Agency on Aging writes in the awards ceremony program. “When communities tap into this, they become stronger too.”