Support Groups

Support groups of various varieties have been around for a number of years.  These groups were started to meet the needs of people to give one another helping hand to both parties – those helping and those in need of help.

A support group available to meet the needs locally is a Dementia Caregiver Group.  This group meets the 4th Wednesday of each month from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. at the Becker Community Center.

If you are caregiver, this group will meet your needs.

Dementia is a disease that needs individual care in a home or a nursing facility.  Someone that has dementia usually has a family member that supplies care, this care is both physically and mentally stressful.  All people in a position of caretaker can be helped by a support group.

The facilitator of a group is a navigator/educator.  They are knowledgeable of the latest information and techniques for successfully giving help to a person living with dementia.

The most common type of Dementia is Alzheimer’s.  There are over 100 difference types of Alzheimer’s.  We think of it as an old person’s disease, but we are all living longer, so elderly people are becoming a larger number.

My grandmother was afflicted by her late 60’s to early 70’s.  While my wife suffered with Alzheimer’s in her 80’s.  No support group existed in the early 1950’s.  Caretaking was definitely 24/7.

Alzheimer’s was named after a German doctor living in the 20th century.  As I remember, we referred to it as hardening of the arteries.

After grandfather died, we wanted to keep grandmother in familiar surroundings.  My father and mother sold their house and we moved in with grandmother.  At about 80 my wife started to change.  She lost her self-confidence.  An avid reader and love for keeping records was not a sure thing.  She lost her desire to read and work with numbers.  We also had a daily “treasure hunt” for misplaced items.

What can you gain from a support group?  Ideas, information, techniques, and support.  Others in the group have had experience with similar problems and by sharing can give a helping hand.

The family’s experience with my grandmother was different than my wife, because limited knowledge and sharing ideas and information was not a practice.  A disease of the mind was not part of the conversion.

In my wife’s case people with Alzheimer’s were being referred to a specialist.  Our county had a “go to person” that helped families seek help with Alzheimer’s care.  This person was valuable in guiding a caretaker through the varies stages of the disease.

The caretaker has to remember to care for themselves.  One way to do that is to join a support group.  It will help you, the caretaker or anyone who is in contact with the person living with dementia.

Leave a Reply