Dementia has a devastating impact not just on those with the disease, but can also be a burden on caregivers - a job that usually falls on family and friends. To help those caregivers dealing with the everyday stress of dementia, the RiverView Care Center will offer a Dementia Support Group the first Thursday of each month starting April 2nd.

    “We want our group to be a safe place for caregivers - which can be family members, friends, or facility caregivers - to come and talk about the challenges that go along with caring for someone with a dementia-related disease,’’ shared Kelly Beiswenger, Care Center administrator. “We really want to stress that the group is open to anyone affected by dementia, whether directly caring for a loved one, or if they live elsewhere, or if you are working as a caregiver for an organization, this group applies to anyone dealing with dementia.’’

    Beiswenger, Kailey Chaffee, Care Center nursing director, and Kayla Daucsavage, Care Center activities director, will lead the meetings. Topics will depend on the issues/needs deemed most important by those attending. Possible topics may include educational opportunities offered regarding the disease, effective communication for individuals with dementia, how to respond to dementia-related behaviors, and open discussion.

    According to the Alzheimer’s Association, nearly 75 percent of dementia caregivers are somewhat or very concerned about maintaining their health since becoming a caregiver. In addition, over one in three dementia caregivers say their health has gotten worse due to their care responsibilities. The Alzheimer’s Association shares the following statistics:

    In 2018, 16.3 million family members and friends provided 18.5 billion hours of unpaid care to people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, at an economic value of nearly $234 billion.

    Of the unpaid Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers, 86 percent have provided care for at least the past year, and half have been providing care for four or more years.
Nearly one-fourth of Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers are “sandwich generation” caregivers— caring for both someone with the disease and a child or grandchild.

    If you are looking for support, this group may be for you. Share your experiences and pick up tips from others who may be going through the same experience. Meetings are free and scheduled from 10 to 11 am in Meeting Room 1, RiverView Health, 323 S. Minnesota Street, Crookston.

    For more information on the group, contact Kayla Daucsavage at 281-9458.