Meet a Support Group: Caring for Caregivers, Los Angeles, Calif.


Meet a Support Group: Caring for Caregivers, Los Angeles, Calif.

(This is the first in a series, Meet a Support Group. Today, @michelle, who cares for her husband, shows us her support group.) What's the name of your support group?
Michelle: Caring for Caregivers (CFC). Tell us about your group--how it started, how long it's been going, who hosts or sponsors your group, where you meet and how often you meet.
Michelle: We are a faith-based support group for men and women caregivers. I felt the need to talk with others in my situation but could not find a caregiver support group in my immediate area. I felt that I was being led to start one but had no idea how to go about it. I prayed, "If this is what you want me to do, Lord you are going to have to show me what to do and how to do." I few weeks later Lois made an announcement in church that the evangelism committee was looking for ideas for outreach to the community.

Of course, I had just the idea. Lois and I found out that the Alzheimer's Association gave a workshop for potential support group facilitators. We attended that workshop and with the blessing of our church and the support the Alzheimer's Association, began our-faith based Alzheimer's and Dementia support group in April of this year. We meet twice each month at St. Paul's Presbyterian Church, 5100 Coliseum St., Los Angeles, Calif., 90016. Tell us about the members of your group.
Michelle: We have eight members who come as often as they can.We have individuals caring for parents, spouses, siblings and neighbors. Most are members of our church but we welcome all caregivers. On the day the picture was taken, we had five members. One declined to be photographed. I am the one in the superhero t shirt that I won on Tell us about your group's purpose. How do you hope to help each other?
Michelle: We provide each other with the opportunity to ask and answer questions about the challenges we are having and to share information. As we sit, talk and enjoy a bite to eat remind each other that we are not alone. We also enjoy having speakers in our small intimate setting. Tell us about some of your favorite moments or meetings or speakers or topics.
Michelle: The caree of one of our members has diabetes and symptoms of dementia. We were able to explain to her that uncontrolled blood sugar can mimic dementia symptoms and encouraged her to monitor her caree to insure that the medication was being taken and the doctors instructions followed. She has reported an improvement in her caree's behavior. We have had two speakers who have spoken to us about the progression of Alzheimer's and dementia and communicating with people with dementia. Tell us about the upcoming meetings you have planned.
Michelle: Besides our regular meetings on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of each month, we have planned a special meeting with a speaker from the Alzheimer's Association to talk to us about home safety. What suggestions would you offer to others considering starting a similar group? *
Michelle: I would suggest taking some kind of training, Find a place to meet, pass out flyers and get started. Please feel free to include any additional information about your group you'd like us to know.
Michelle: In the future, we plan to offer caregivers meeting with us, the ability to bring their carees and have them taken care of in another room during the meeting. Members of our church have offered provide this service.

(We want to see your support group! Your support group could be the Monday morning you connect with friends over coffee at Panera–and they support you. Your support group could be your golf foursome, the group that understands your day so they focus on making your golf outing as relaxing as possible. Your support group could be that group organized by a larger organization that you attend once a month. Your support group could consist of two members or 20–it’s not about the numbers but about the giving and receiving of support. Whatever your support group looks like, show it to us.)

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