Support Groups A Lifeline for People in the Early Stages of Alzheimers Disease

quotIt was like opening the door to a sunlit roomquot says a member of Phyllis Dycks support group recalling the first time she attended a meeting for people in the early stages of Alzheimers disease Never before had she been with other people who understood what it was like to live with the disease

Caregiver support groups have been around for decades but a growing number of support groups for men and women with Alzheimers disease and related dementias are being created in communities across Canada

quotTheres a whole new generation of people who are saying Ive got a problem and I want to share this I need help I want to deal with this I want to be informedquot says Phyllis Dyck an Alzheimer Society of British Columbia regional representative who facilitates support groups for people with earlystage dementia

quotEven people in their 80s who come forward have that kind of mindset They are incredibly determined to live one day at a time and make a good life for themselvesquot

Each member brings to the group a lifetime of experience and takes away exactly what he or she needs

For Kate Grant 59 who lives in a log cabin she built north of Lakefield Ontario the support group provided the comfort of discovering quotIm not the only onequot

For Cynthia Williams of SurreyBC its a place to share tips Support group members have helped this multitasking 58yearold realize that she needs to slow down and do one thing at a time quotUnplug the iron Turn off the stove before going off to start something else or answer the phone These are the things we share we learn with each otherquot

For Dale Griffith 64 of Victoria Beach Manitoba its an opportunity to use her nursing training of years ago to comfort another group member quotAll I did was reach over and touch her Thats all she needed She calmed down as fast as I touched her It was just magicquot

And for Chris Young 73 a veteran newspaper editor from Ottawa Ontario the support group is quota lifelinequot that is helping him make the best of life quotThe facilitators help me understand the nature of the disease the probabilities for the future and how to deal with what may lie aheadquot

Communities that have no Alzheimer support groups may have adult day programs that offer opportunities for socializing maintaining hobbies and other interests and generally keeping active

Mabel Morrow 70 of Morrisburg Ontario looks forward to Tuesday mornings at her local day centre quotI enjoy going mostly because you dont just sit there If Im not working at something I can help someone elsequot

The Alzheimer Society currently offers early stage Alzheimer support groups in most major communities across Canada The Society also provides telephone support caregiver support groups counselling information and programs such as the national Alzheimer Wandering Registry that helps return people home safely after wandering Society programs are funded primarily by donations from caring Canadians

For more information about Alzheimer Society programs and how you can help contact your local Alzheimer Society

Date : 14 Dec, 2007
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