My Support Group Meetings
"Can You Feel the Love Tonight?"

I don't know how anyone can take care of an Alzheimer's victim without going to support group meetings. I went one Saturday a month. My sister and her husband would come to stay with my mother for the day, and I would go to the town 20 miles away for the meeting and then an afternoon of shopping.

My support group met at Parker Memorial Baptist Church in Anniston, Alabama. I met some pretty special people there. The people they took care of were at all different stages. They continued to come after their person was put in the nursing home. Some continued to come after that person had died.

We shared so much--every concern from legal matters to how to make it through meals and bath times. Often at least one of us could not hold back the tears. It was me that couldn't after putting my mother in the nursing home. I think I cried through that whole meeting.

After that meeting, a very special member of the group came to me. She had read part of her manuscript during the meeting, and she gave me the whole article to take home to read. That article "I Am My Mother's Keeper" has since been published in the July/August 1996 issue of Ms. Magazine.

Judy Simmons left a positon at Ms Magazine in New York for life in small-town Alabama taking care of her mother who has Alzheimer's disease. She's done it for five years now. Her article tells the story, expressing the emotions we feel as caretakers, especially when we give up our own lives for this role.

Judy was just one of the special people in that group. There are so many others, so many stories that could be shared.

If you have someone close to you who has Alzheimers (or any dementia, really--the symptoms are so similar for many of them), please go to an Alzheimer's support group meeting. As well as sharing experiences and feelings, it's a great source of information. In my group we also had special speakers and watched videos on Alzheimer's Disease. Books and videos were available to be checked out and read or viewed at home. And every month we were sent an informative and encouraging newsletter.

Thank you to "Caregivers", my Alzheimer's support group, for helping me through my "Year to Remember".

Copyright © 1996-2005 Brenda S. Parris

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