Senior Caregiver Retreats

We offer senior caregivers
a one-day group experience
to connect and rejuvenate.

All retreats are free of charge
to caregivers 60 or older
or caregivers who care for
someone 60 or older.

Retreats are held in Brattleboro, VT.

Caregivers Also Have Needs

When loved ones develop chronic physical illness or dementia, their escalated needs easily overwhelm family caregivers, who gradually put aside their own needs to be available for the "36-hour day." When stressful situations are prolonged for years, it is understandable that caregivers burnout from exhaustion, frustration, isolation, and despair.

Everyone tells caregivers to take care of themselves, but to actually put their own needs first, even for an hour or a day, is a very real challenge. Not only does it require finding the time, it also means facing the guilt that stops a lot of caregivers, "How can I be so selfish?" Fortunately for all concerned, some do overcome the challenge.

People rarely anticipate becoming a caregiver for their parent, spouse, or any other loved one, and are typically ill-prepared for the challenge. Love, duty, and concern motivate caregivers, but the best intentions don't eliminate the potential for stress and emotional conflicts.

Talking to Someone who Understands Does Help

Some caregivers have family or friends they can talk to, but more often than not either the people closest to them can't listen because of their own conflicting feelings. Some caregivers refuse to talk about their struggles because they fear being a burden.

Our one-day group retreats provide a rare opportunity for caregivers to be free of care-taking responsibilities and to have the luxury of time to talk with other caregivers in a safe and supportive group setting.

Here is what some caregivers wrote right after their retreat group ended:

"The group was very beneficial. Surprisingly, I no longer feel so alone as a caregiver!"

"I felt free to speak in the group about how my sisters and brother make taking care of Dad such a burden."

"I never realized how guilt stopped me from considering my self since my husband’s stroke."

"I did not realize how badly I needed to be in a group like this one until I came here today."

"The group helped me let out some sadness and tears that have been building. Such a relief!"

"No one in the group said I was a bad person to sometimes feel angry with my mother - sometimes they feel it too!"

"The whole experience has been wonderful, healing, and thought provoking. Thank you!"

About the Program

Curtis Graf, Ph.D. first learned about care-giving loved ones when he became a caregiver for his aging parents.

Curtis Graf (far left) pictured with volunteers from the peer counseling program in 2002.

Caring for his parents led Curtis to his professional work with older adults in New Mexico where he directed the Peer Counseling Program for Seniors for nine years. This work was fully funded by Albuquerque's Area Agency on Aging and the McCune Charitable Foundation of Santa Fe.

Recently, Curtis chose to just work with senior caregivers in groups, and offered Caregiver Retreats in Albuquerque, NM from 2003 - 2016. The retreats were always free of charge to seniors thanks to continued funding by Albuquerque's Area Agency on Aging.

In 2009 Curtis also began offering Caregiver Retreats in Vermont that are free of charge to seniors thanks to the generosity of private donors.