Members of the Optum Health team of Tucson arrived with sleeves rolled up (on their special Optum team T-shirts) and hands ready for creative work as they spent their dedicated Optum Volunteer Day at Healthy Living Connections for TMC Senior Services.
The team helped create dozens of thank-you bags to be given to those who care for loved ones, in honor of National Caregiver Month. The bags were distributed later in the week to more than 70 very surprised and thankful caregivers!
“When the Optum folks called about volunteering, we jumped on the opportunity to do something special for those who care so much for others,” said L’Don Sawyer, director, Senior Services. “Caregivers are often so wrapped up in the care they are giving that they forget to take time for themselves. The bags were a reminder that the caregivers deserve care, too.
“It’s appropriate that Optum chose this fun assignment, as it ties into our shared mission of keeping people independent and in their homes as long as possible,” Sawyer added. “Familial caregivers provide so much care – every month should be caregiver month!”
Family caregivers provided the equivalent of $450 billion worth of care to their adult parents and other loved ones in 2009, an amount that makes caregivers one of the largest and most overlooked pillars of the U.S. health care system, according to a new report by the AARP Public Policy Institute, “Valuing the Invaluable: The Growing Contributions and Costs of Family Caregiving, 2011 Update.”
“The Optum team agrees that it meant everything to them to share Volunteer Day,” said Susan Cobb, director, Provider Consulting, with OptumInsight. “Particularly we recognize those individuals who dedicate part or all of their time to helping others. We were a little part of giving back to them.”
TMC Senior Services provides a variety of programs beyond the hospital walls to assist older adults and their caregivers, including events and resources at Healthy Living Connections on the El Dorado Health Campus, 1400 N. Wilmot.