DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – There are thousands of families in the U.S. who are struggling to keep it together while looking after a loved one with a chronic and serious illness.

It’s for that reason Duke Health wants to do more to provide resources to help.

Friday, for the first time in-person, Duke Health held its Duke Caregiver Community Event where more than 80 exhibits were on display. Over 450 participants showed up to give and receive all the help family members would need to provide care.

It’s something Nicole Clagett, Director of Community Development & Caregiver support for Duke Homecare and Hospice, said everyone should know about.  

“Without a caregiver, our loved ones really can not get a quality of life and a quality of care. We need to educate our caregivers, provide them resources, provide them respite, provide them hope for the future even,” she said. 

(Darran Todd/CBS 17)

According to AARP, one in five Americans provide unpaid family care. Their mission is to provide resources for professional and non-professional caregivers who are taking care of an aging parent, a parent taking care of a child who has more needs, or a loved one taking care of someone with a chronic illness.

The event started at 8:45 am in its first session and throughout the day continued with more sessions ending at 4:30p. 1 of the 6 sessions offered teaches financial guidance when looking after a loved one. 

“One of the biggest myths is that Medicare pays for everything—and the reality of it is, caregiving is very, very expensive. There are so many things that are out of pocket,” said Clagett. 

It’s events like this, Jay Reinstein said, that allow him to spread awareness on a few deadly diseases.

“When you get a diagnosis of early Alzheimer’s, it doesn’t mean life is over—it could be just the beginning. And for me, it just means more opportunities,” he shared. 

Bathroom accidents are common in older adults but it’s something the event teaches could be avoidable with modifications. 

If you didn’t get to attend the event and want more information on future events, click here