Sharing is a beautiful part of life. Granted, we may have struggled with sharing when we were very young, but as we age, we recognize its importance. Sharing is the backbone of happiness and has countless other benefits – which is why we always encourage and seek out ways to share here at The Saybrook at Haddam. One of the best things we can share, of course, is our experience and expertise, particularly in the area of helping families understand and navigate memory-related illness.
Since we opened the Safe Harbor Memory Care community in 2011, we have held many different educational and support events open to residents, their families, and the general community. We have had social workers, Alzheimer’s Association counselors, and specially trained personnel lead these groups, offering valuable insight and information in safe and welcoming settings.
This week we resume our “Caregivers Support Group” monthly meetings under the direction of Kathy Hallett, director of Safe Harbor at The Saybrook at Haddam. As an Alzheimer’s Association trained facilitator, Kathy prepares short topics to present at each support group meeting and helps the group move in the direction that most addresses their needs. Kathy is also prepared to share community resources and distribute a wide range of educational materials from the Alzheimer’s Association.
“For caregivers, gathering in a safe environment to discuss frustrations, isolation issues and sadness is a good opportunity to not feel as lonely,” Kathy said. “We take time to answer many questions, suggest tips, discuss loved ones’ stage and progression within the disease, and foster new friendships.”
The Mayo Clinic says support groups “provide an opportunity for people to share personal experiences and feelings, coping strategies, or firsthand information about diseases or treatments.” It suggests these groups are valuable tools to “fill a gap between medical treatment and the need for emotional support.”
Additionally, The Mayo Clinic says people may enjoy these wonderful benefits:
- Feeling less lonely, isolated or judged
- Reducing distress, depression, anxiety or fatigue
- Improving skills to cope with challenges
- Staying motivated to manage chronic conditions or stick to treatment plans
- Gaining a sense of empowerment, control or hope
- Improving understanding of a disease and your own experience with it
- Getting practical feedback about treatment options
- Learning about health, economic or social resources
It is a privilege to share the experience and education of our talented staff in all areas of aging – but most especially regarding memory-related illnesses. The success of our Safe Harbor memory care community has been in great part a result of the willingness of so many people to share so much of themselves – from our staff to our residents and their families to our volunteers and to the many Alzheimer’s experts who visit with us and help us grow. This does, indeed, contribute to a beautiful life.
Our Caregivers Support Group welcome those caring for a loved one with a memory-related illness. It will be held the third Wednesday of each month at 6 p.m. in the first-floor library of The Saybrook at Haddam. Please join us!
For a private tour of The Saybrook at Haddam or its Safe Harbor memory care neighborhood, please fill out the form below or contact David Downey at 860-345-3779.