Seminars for seniors, caregivers coming up at St. Mark’s Lutheran in China Grove

Published 12:05 am Sunday, August 28, 2022

By Susan Shinn Turner
For The Salisbury Post

CHINA GROVE — Are you a senior, have a senior in your life, or are you a caregiver for a senior?

Then you may be interested in three seminars on successive Tuesdays in September — Sept. 13, 20, and 27. They’re being held at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 326 N. Main St., China Grove, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Light refreshments will be served beginning at 6 p.m. The event is sponsored by the church’s Mission Outreach Team.

Kara Lemon is a trainer with the GAST program. GAST stands for Geriatric Adult Mental Health Specialty Teams, and Lemon serves Mecklenburg and Rowan counties. The agency receives state support, so seminars are free.

At the beginning of the year, Lemon, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, sent out marketing materials to local churches.

“Our primary mission is to provide training for professionals who work with older populations, and secondly, we collaborate with the faith community to provide education to the general public,” she says.

Based in Randleman, the agency provides training in three main areas: mental health, substance use, and dementia. The training in China Grove will mirror those areas.

Mental Health 101 takes place on Sept. 13.

“We will talk about mental health versus mental illness,” Lemon says, “along with warning signs that someone needs support or self-care.”

This seminar will discuss mental health, mental illness, and the continuum between the two, Lemon says.

The Sept. 20 seminar focuses on the basics of dementia, what dementia is, its common symptoms, and types of dementias.

The Sept. 27 seminar is about mental health and sanity during the pandemic.

“From a mental health perspective, we’ll talk about why the pandemic has been so hard on people,” Lemon says. “We’ll talk about self-care strategies, and we’ll include information about senior drug abuse.”

Although the seminars are aimed at seniors and caregivers, Lemon says, “the information we give can apply to people of all ages.”

“We think this is a very good opportunity for folks to get information moving forward,” says Rick Erwin, who heads the church’s Mission Outreach Team.

He says the church hopes to draw attendees from throughout Rowan County.

“This training has been done many times before and it will go well,” Lemon says. “It has been a pleasure working with Rick and his church.”

Erwin adds that each seminar includes take-home materials.

To register for these free seminars, call 704-577-4616.