Whatever your experience has been to date, if you are caring for a loved one with memory loss, the day will likely come when you find yourself thinking “How did we come to be in this place?” If and when that day comes for you, it is important to know that you are not alone. You don’t have to look far to see that the statistics for those with Alzheimer’s and related dementias are on the rise. The number of people who are caring for a loved one with dementia is staggering. Then why is it that you feel so alone? As caregivers, we often become so entrenched in the daily demands of life at work and home that we forget to take time to recharge and take care of ourselves. One of the best ways for a caregiver to care for them self is to find others who are managing similar situations. Knowing that you are not alone and that the struggles which feel so personal and isolating are not uncommon can be very empowering. Sharing common experiences and struggles and having the opportunity to share successes and solutions can be the best medicine in the world.

You can find support through informal circles of friends, church and community groups and education programs, or formal support groups for caregivers. The Alzheimer’s Association has a listing of groups with trained facilitators that meet on a regular basis. One of those groups includes a group that meets at St. Ambrose Catholic Church in Woodbury on the Third Thursday of every month at 6:00 p.m. There is no charge to attend and the group is open to anyone who is caring for a loved one with memory loss. We would love to have you join us.

A wise centenarian friend of mine told me recently that a good friend is “like a rock you can rest on.” Her 103 years of wisdom is not to be ignored. A good support group can become your “rock” when your days of caregiving grow long. Those who have traveled the road are often the best to give direction. And with the right kind of support and direction, we can see the beauty all around us. Even on a cold winter’s day in Minnesota.

Submitted by Janelle Johnson, Memory Care Specialist