The stress of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease can be overwhelming, especially if that person is a spouse or parent. That is why support groups are valuable in coping with the demands of caring for someone with memory loss, dementia or Alzheimer’s. The WISE Adult Day Service Center in Santa Monica provides relief with day care services and trained professionals to help with these day-to-day challenges as well as facilitate support groups for caregivers. While adult day care provides caregivers a break from the situation, support groups offer a comfortable and safe environment for family caregivers to share the emotions, struggles, joy, and journey in caring for a person with memory loss. Caregivers learn they are not alone.
At the WISE Adult Day Service Center, families and caregivers find relief from the 24/7 job in a nurturing environment geared to their needs. Three Support Groups meet twice a month at times to accommodate varied schedules. One group is for adult children caring for a parent and two are a mix of caregivers including those caring for a spouse with memory loss.
“Before attending this support group I thought I was alone and no matter how hard I tried, no one would understand what I was going through. My children would tell me that my husband was not as bad as I was making him out to be,” explained Shirley, a support group regular. “This group gave me the courage to speak up to my children and ask for their help. I have learned that I cannot go though this alone and I have to advocate for myself and my husband.”
Caregiving is not something most people choose and caring for a person with memory loss can be a lonely and isolated journey. Emotional education and support is provided as well as practical solutions from the experiences of people who have been there. One caregiver’s husband would cram trash in his pant pockets, so she stitched all of his pockets closed, solving the problem. Another caregiver’s husband was a wanderer. She disguised the front door knob as a flower and when he went to the door he was unable to open it because he did not recognize the doorknob.
Support groups are open and charge a suggested donation based on a sliding scale. For more information about the support groups or Adult Day Care please call WISE & Healthy Aging at 310.452.7802.
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WISE & Healthy Aging, a social services organization, enhances the independence, dignity and quality of life of older adults through leadership, advocacy and innovative services. This nonprofit is the result of a Nov. 2007 merger of WISE Senior Services and Center for Healthy Aging.