Since 2008, Mercy Care has trained 40 parish nurses throughout the Diocese of Ogdensburg.
“Just this past year, we collaborated with Catholic Charities, and we trained 18 parish nurses in the Watertown area. Bishop Terry LaValley commissioned the new parish nurses, which was really exciting. There are currently 12 parish nurses in Mercy Care directly serving the Tri-Lakes area,” Beal said.
Parish nurses hail from many faith communities, and Mercy Care serves elders of all faiths.
Mercy Care encourages each community to develop facilities, programs and policies that uniquely support fullness of life of elders.
“We only have a staff of three people,” Beal said. “We’re a very small organization. That is leveraged extensively by the hundreds of volunteers we have and many community-service volunteers through human-service agencies.”
Mercy Care advocates community development.
“We provide the organizational support so each community itself will become empowered to develop in a manner that will make it more elder-friendly. In a nutshell, Mercy Care serves as a catalyst, convener and a facilitator for systemic change,” she said.
Since 2008, Mercy Care has held 11 forums featuring state and national experts on trends in elder care. The next forum is Thursday, May 16. Topics are “Aging, Longevity and the Law” presented by Vera Prosper and Roger Abrams and “Elder Caregiving in Rural Communities” presented by Linda Lindsey Davis. Prosper is a senior policy analyst with the New York State Office for the Aging. Abrams practices law in Lake Success and is a national expert in health and elder law. Davis is the Ann Henshaw Gardiner professor of nursing at Duke University.
“Through education, we seek to promote an understanding of issues and challenges in the lives of elders,” Beal said. “Anyone can attend. We keep our registration fee very low. It’s $15. We do have scholarships for elders. We don’t want any elder not be able to come because they can’t afford it.”