Fall is here! I had the TV on the other night, and I looked up and realized with horror that QVC was selling Christmas trees and Christmas decorations. In September. We live in a culture that’s always pointing us to what’s next — the next big thing, the next big event, the next big whatever. And somehow we miss all the in between things and wonder where our days went.

One of the things that I love about this job is that when I see you out in the community, you remind me over and over that I need to remember that what happens now is important. That yes, it’s good to be strategic and plan ahead, but I can’t forget that what we do today is critical for seniors, people with disabilities, and their caregivers living in the District. We can’t wait for a year from now, five years from now, to be great. You need us to be there for you today.

I’ve started asking people in my life and people I meet about how connected they are to services where they live and what they wish they knew. Over and over, people tell me that they wish they had a reliable source of information for caregiver support. Caregiving is a relationship. A critical one that holds our families and communities together.

Several years ago, my dad got really sick really quickly for no identifiable reason and spent time in an intensive care unit. It was terrifying. I shared caregiver responsibilities while he was at the hospital, and when he was moved back home for a short period of time. Taking care of my dad changed our relationship. And it changed me, too.

My time as a caregiver was short-lived, but I know for many of you, this is an ongoing responsibility. As an agency, we’ve been thinking quite a bit about the services we provide, and we know that when we serve caregivers, we’re serving seniors and people with disabilities. In many cases, it’s caregivers who prevent people from living in nursing homes or other long-term care. We need to serve you, too.

If you’re a caregiver and interested in knowing what might be available to you (or if you know a caregiver), please call our Information & Assistance line at 202-724-5626. DCOA provides support for caregivers through adult day health programs, respite, and online chats with other caregivers. Check out our website at www.dcoa.dc.gov for more detailed information.

In all of our agency work, we strive to make your lives a little easier, providing support and programs that allow you to have less stress and more information. I hope each of you is able to step outside, breathe in the crisp fall air, and enjoy it for exactly what it is. A perfect fall day.

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