Optimists lean about caregiving

The role of being a caregiver will affect almost every single person in the U.S. at some point in their lives. It’s almost as predictable that everyone will also be a care-receiver.

This was the premise for a presentation St. Andrews Optimists recently received from Marti Colucci, Director of Leeza’s Care Connection.

The service operates in its facility at St. Andrews Road and Tram Road, known by long-time locals as the old Mungo home. The home has undergone a major transformation to outfit it for multiple events taking place at the same time. A parking lot expansion was also completed within the last few months.

The purpose of the Connection is to offer comfort, support, and peer exchanges with other caregivers. Colucci pointed out that when people are performing a caregiving role, they very often neglect themselves. The Connection gives those people time away from the caregiving responsibilities long enough to unwind, decompress, and draw encouragement from their peers and the Connection staff.

Because of Covid-related precautions, the facility is presently closed to person-to-person interaction; however it still has a very active online presence and is sustaining as many of its services as is feasible through that media. Before the Covid shutdown, the Connection was receiving more than 1,000 visitors a month, most of whom were caregivers.

There are other similar operations nationwide, using space provided within hospitals, but Leeza’s Care Connection in the St. Andrews area is the only one that is housed in its own freestanding building. The work of the Connection organization has drawn nationwide notoriety, so interest in its mission is on the upswing. Funding for the connection comes entirely from donations.

Pictured are Marti Colucci her husband Billy Colucci, who served as speaker host, and Optimist President Alan Taylor.