A Conference to Assist Caregivers & Older Adults In Planning for the Future is Set for May 6


A conference is coming up in Monterey to help caregivers and older adults learn about resources to help them plan for the future.  The conference will feature a panel of experts to answer questions on finances, legal issues, care options and more.  Harmony Leonard and Kathy Solomon organized the conference.

Kathy Solomon is with the Highland Medical Equipment Loan Program, one of the sponsors of the conference.  She also facilitates the Caregivers Support Group that meets twice a month.

“As you know, Harmony works with seniors here trying to help them find the answers to these kinds of things, and other things, and then in my Caregivers Support Group all these questions were coming up because a lot of these caregivers are finding themselves in a position where they need help,” says Solomon. “Harmony and I were talking about it and it started out as my asking if she knew people that would come out here and speak to the Caregivers Group and that was kind of the seed of the idea and the more we talked, the more we realized that actually we should open it to the community.”

Harmony Leonard is the Highland-Bath Senior Services Director and a volunteer with the Highland Medical Equipment Loan Program.

“There are so many facets of our life that we don’t think about until we’re in a crisis and I think that the more information people have, the better equipped they are to make those hard decisions as they age, to plan for end of life, to plan how they are going to get the care they need or want,” says Leonard.  “It’s really important to come and find out what resources are available to get those questions answered, even questions that people don’t even think about that attending this program might jog for them.  The other thing is that it all can be very overwhelming as we’re planning for end of life and, hopefully, we will have the people and the organizations and the resources at this conference.  We’re not just having speakers.  We have 24 vendors who will be attending this conference.”

The seminar panelists include Emily Malcolm, Director of the Highland County Department of Social Services; Bryan Obaugh, Manager of Obaugh Funeral Home;  Leah Pugh, Financial Advisor with Edward Jones;  Laura Pyle, Attorney and Dianne Rankin, an elder law attorney Legal Assistant who is also retired after working thirty years in the administration of long term care nursing facilities.

“I think in my work I just see so many people in crisis at the end who have not planned,” says Leonard.  “Either they’re overwhelmed because they don’t want to or they don’t know what to do and, hopefully, we will be able to eliminate some of the overwhelm for them.”

The conference, “The Future is Now and You Can Still Prepare”, is Saturday, May 6 from 10 until 2 at The Highland Center in Monterey.  Doors open at 9am.  The conference is free.  Lunch will be provided.  Pre-registration is required by April 21.  To register contact Kathy Solomon at 540-468-3693.

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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