For a shoulder to lean on, caregivers come together

Care giving for a loved one can be a difficult process and many folks in that situation are unaware that help is as close as downtown Puyallup.

The Multi Care Good Samaritan Hospital Older Adult Services Caregiver group’s goal is to help folks navigate the confusing waters of caregiving by offering support and links to a variety of helpful services they probably did not know existed. They meet the second Monday of each month at Multi Care Good Samaritan Hospital Older Adult Services located at 325 E. Pioneer Avenue in Puyallup from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m.

Facilitator Madrid Slaker runs the group, which consists of folks who are taking care of someone who has suffered a stroke, has dementia, cancer or any chronic condition.

Members share information and offer support. This exchange is extremely helpful and the support is first rate.

Meetings usually consist of a time for everyone to share how their month has gone, ask for help and receive support. Professionals are invited to speak on a variety of useful subjects. The meetings are relaxed and comfortable with lots of time to ask questions and share ideas.

A recent meeting welcomed Connie Hanser, MSW and Case Manager of Aging and Disability Resources with Pierce County.

Hanser said, “Care givers are saving the government by being unpaid care givers and the Government is putting more money into programs.”

One such program is Family Caregiver Support Program that supports the caregiver. After a determination to see what level of services folks are eligible for, the caregiver can receive services on a sliding scale.

The Memory Care & Wellness Services program is an adult day program helping people with dementia and allowing personal time for caregivers.

This program works with an exercise routine and activities to promote good health and communication said Hanser.

The RDAD (Reducing Disability in Alzheimer’s Disease) group uses an exercise program in the home for caregivers and the patient and is available for caregivers and care receivers living in the community. There is no cost for this program.

To learn more about any of the above programs, call Pierce County Aging & Disability Resource Center at 253-798-4600.

Carol Hackman started attending the Monday afternoon caregivers’ group when her husband suffered a stroke in 2004.

“There is a lot of good information about solving problems and the lectures are helpful. It is a great place to vent. No one in the world except another caregiver understands,” she said.

Sandy Dunning’s husband is now living in an assisted living facility and she said, “Even healthcare professionals don’t get it. This is a safe environment for us.”

To learn more about the caregiver’s group call 253-697-8536.