There are more than 15 million dementia caregivers in this country and every single one can benefit from support of some kind. Meals, errands, respite, support groups, and hugs to name a few.
Alzheimer’s support groups can help a person feel like they’re not alone. When I was in a group and heard a participant share frustrations of caring for her loved one and her secret hope for a swift end, I knew I was in the right place. I also knew that I’d one day want to give back by leading a group of my own — and that time has come.
But first, let me tell you what happened.
I began the application process last year with the local Alzheimer’s Chapter. After many calls, a fair amount of paperwork, an interview and a background check, I was thrilled to be “hired” for this volunteer position! And then it went nowhere. I heard this chapter was “restructuring” which was fine. I could wait. But I imagined my eager and ready application languishing in a drawer and becoming a forgotten file.
Then a few months later out of the blue, a friend contacted me to ask if I was interested in taking over a local Alzheimer’s Support Group that was in need of a new facilitator. This friend and I had not been in touch in awhile, she had no idea I was pursuing this, and said she just “thought of me” when the spot became available.
Amazing how things work out. Of course I said yes.
I co-facilitated my first Group in June, my mother vanished on July 6th, and ten days later I was leading my second Group. Reealy bad timing. I had nothing to give, but what was I to do? I committed and wanted to follow through. So I went, and shared, and cried. People cried with me, probably because they could see their lives in my story — they have lost or are losing their loved one with dementia too and it’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to cry.
Support goes both ways.
My little group meets at the Winchester Medical Center, on the 3rd Tuesday of the month from 7:30 — 9:00pm. We talk about everything related to having a loved one with dementia. We laugh, we cry, we listen and support. All are welcome.
There is most likely some type of support for whatever you are going through. Whether it be a group, a counselor, pastor, or a friend — I encourage you to reach out and find support.
CLICK HERE to locate an Alzheimer’s Support Group near you. Or go to ElderCare.gov for additional resources and to find your local Area Agency on Aging which can direct you to a support group for your specific needs.
Together we are strong,