November is National Family Caregivers Month; a time set aside to honor and raise awareness of the struggles facing those who selflessly give of themselves to care for the physical and emotional needs of a friend or loved one.
“Caregiving is hard work, and we want to be a resource for caregivers as their need for support and assistance increases,” said Noelle Dickinson, marketing director. “From educational seminars to caregiver support groups and respite and day services, there are options available to help families as they care for loved ones in their homes.”
The following are just a couple of the ways Newton Presbyterian Manor is providing ongoing support to the caregivers in our community.
Caregiver support group
FOCUS, which stands for “Family or Caregivers Under Stress,” is a support group primarily intended for those caring for a loved one dealing with dementia but is open to anyone who has found themselves assuming the role of “caregiver.”
According to Laura Stewart, social services director and facilitator of the group, the main purpose is to help caregivers build and extend their support system with people who can relate to what they’re currently going through.
“Having a support system is so important in the process of caregiving,” said Laura. “Many caregivers who come to the group have other family members who live out of state, or live at a distance, and just don’t understand, saying things like ‘Well, mom sounds great when I talk to her on the phone.’ To have other people who understand is something special.”
The group can sometimes also function as an informal brainstorming session—providing an opportunity for participants to exchange ideas and share techniques that have worked for them.
“Dementia is not a straight-line process, it is more like a roller coaster ride,” said Laura. “To be able to say things like, ‘Have you tried ______?’ Or, ‘We found ____ to be helpful when my mom struggled with _____’ is beneficial to the attendees.”
The group meets on the first Thursday of every month at 7 p.m. in the NPM library. For more information, contact Laura at 316-281-4363 or email [email protected].
While support groups provide the emotional backing caregivers need, NPM’s day services offers the physical, hands-on assistance that allows them to continue to provide care day in and day out.
“Our day services are designed to give caregivers a needed break to go to appointments, shop or do what they need to do to feel rested and ready to be a caregiver again,” said Noelle Dickinson, marketing director.
Use of the service is completely flexible and is based on individual caregiver’s wants and needs. For some, the service acts as a release valve in times of need, while others participate based on the community’s event schedule. There are even some who use the service on a daily basis to accommodate a caregiver’s full-time job.
Beyond daytime services, the community also features a furnished studio apartment available for respite care while a caregiver travels, has a medical procedure or attends to other business. Respite care has been offered for up to three months at a time for those who come for the winter or anyone just wanting to experience Presbyterian Manor life before committing to a permanent move.
To learn more about day services and respite care at Newton Presbyterian Manor, contact Noelle at 316-283-5400 or [email protected].