LAKE CITY – In an effort to bring together caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients and others, a new Alzheimer’s support group held its first meeting at the Lake City Senior Citizens Center. The group was started by Lewis Beaver, a Lake City resident who has been helping his wife with Alzheimer’s disease for eight years.
“I understand that there are a number of people in this town who have Alzheimer’s disease,” Beaver said. “And I’m involved in this in my family, so I think we need a support group because it’s hard to stay in a house all the time. It’s just one of the things I’ve been thinking about for a while, and finally decided to give it a try and see if I can make it work.
Beaver said he wanted to start the group as a way for caregivers to take a break from the daily stress of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease. He also said he wanted the group to be able to keep tabs on everyone and exchange ideas on each other.
Those in attendance focused on getting to know each other and learning basic techniques of caring for people with Alzheimer’s disease from Susan Evans, Program Coordinator at the Alzheimer’s Association. Evans said his organization would generally be the one that creates support groups and was impressed with Beaver’s efforts to create one in Lake City on his own.
“It’s a little unusual to find someone contacting us and starting a grassroots effort like Mr. Beaver did,” Evans said. “He’s talked to people, educated people, ran newspaper ads, found dementia caregivers everywhere to solve this problem, and I haven’t had anyone so committed. “
Some members also took the time during the meeting to share their own experiences and discuss how they cope with the daily struggle to care for someone with Alzheimer’s disease.
Mary Bird and Kathy Bloomfield, both caregivers of a person with Alzheimer’s disease, said they attended the meeting to learn about available services and new techniques for caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease. ‘Alzheimer’s.
“It’s encouraging that someone is trying to do something for the people of this county with regard to Alzheimer’s disease,” Bloomfield said. “So whether or not we get our questions answered, or maybe we’ll just support each other, but I think it’s a good start. “
One technique Evans spoke of was loving lies, which she said caregivers can use when the person with Alzheimer’s disease asks about a deceased relative. For example, she suggested that caregivers could tell the deceased relative is on vacation and will call back tomorrow. With a lot of his techniques, Evans preached patience and said some days would be better than others.
While this first meeting was for introductory purposes, Evans said she hopes the group will continue to grow and its members can lean on each other for support.“We hope they get some ideas,” Evans said. “We hope they lend an ear, someone to listen to them, someone to relate to and help them cope with the trip because it can be so stressful, and the support groups give them support. hope when they see someone else dealing with the same thing.
Although time limited the number of people who came to the first meeting, Beaver said he was happy with the meeting attendance and is hoping the group will grow like wildlife.
“I was happy with the way it turned out,” Beaver said. “(Susan) gave us a lot of good information, and the questions that were asked sounded very good to me.”
Due to the weather and the holiday season, Beaver said the group will not meet until Friday, January 7 at 1 p.m. at the Lake City Senior Citizens Center.