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FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN  /Finding Support /  Editorial List

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Finding Support

I want to share some emails between myself and a true fearless caregiver, solving problems and reaching out for solutions:   


Hi Gary,

Just want to share some sad feelings about a support group I was in, started in my local church.   Originally, it was a general support group.   As time went on, however, most of the people had family members with Alzheimer's.  Even though most of the issues of caregiving are the same--how to handle the stresses, etc. the coordinator told me that the group was now an Alzheimer's group, and I could no longer participate, as my family member did not have Alzheimer's, but another chronic health issue. 

How hurt and devastated I was.  It especially bothered me to be excluded, as this was a church sponsored outreach.   I couldn't seem to make the coordinator understand that no matter what the health problem was, that as a caregiver, we share many of the same concerns.   To no avail.  

Thanks for letting me vent.  

My response:

I don't know how comfortable you are in taking this to the ministers or lay leaders of the church, but it does seem like this could have been handled better.  I do think it is vital that you are able to find a support group to join as soon as possible because of how valuable membership is to caregivers. 

Some ideas:

Can you call the local hospital and see if there are other groups available? 
Go online to and see if we have support groups listed in your community. 
Contact the organization that deals with the health issue your loved one is facing and see if they can help.
Google your community and the words "support group" and see what comes up.

Let me know what happens.


Hi Gary,

I did find another group which is terrific.   It is also mostly Alzheimer's caregivers, but they have helped me understand that my loved one is not the same person he used to be, and that things will never be like they were.  Also, it's ok to do things for yourself, to take care of yourself.  They have been SUPPORTIVE in every sense of the word. 

Especially, the coordinator has been welcoming.  All in all, a much better place for me.   Maybe it's for the best that I found this group.   I did print out the recent info on support groups from your newsletter, and passed it on to the original group leader.   Maybe she will learn something after reading it.   I hope so. 

I hope so too.


Take care

Gary Barg

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