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Sep 19, 2019

Healthy Living: New Support Group to Help with Dementia

The twenty-first of September is Independence Day for Belize, but in the rest of the world, it will be commemorated as World Alzheimer’s Day. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. People with dementia or Alzheimers at some point, will require full-time care. This labour of love is known to be a stressful and overwhelming responsibility. This is why a group of persons from the Saint Martin’s De Porres Parish decided to create a support group for caretakers. In tonight’s Healthy Living, we find out more about the Caregivers Journey Support Group.

 

 

Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

Every three seconds, someone in the world develops dementia. Yet, it’s still a very much misunderstood disease that many mistakenly view as a normal part of aging. But people with dementia lose far more than their memories.

 

Liz Moon Ross

Liz Moon Ross, Core Member, Caregivers Journey Support Group

It basically erases their brain that’s the simplest way I can explain it.”

 

Liz Moon Rossi is one of the core members of the Caregivers Journey Support Group. She and two other ladies decided to create the support group because they all personally knew why it was necessary.

 

Liz Moon Ross

“My husband had dementia for ten years, and I cared for him myself, and I trained my caregivers. At the time my husband was ill, there was no support. There were no caregivers. I was all by myself. The other two ladies also have family members that are in different stages of dementia, and they needed support too. The caregivers are under a tremendous amount of stress and it’s very difficult job to do, particularly if it’s a loved one. One of the key issues is that caregiver takes care of their patient first, and they don’t always take care of themselves.”

 

This is why discussing self-care for caregivers is one of the specific themes to be covered in the newly formed support group. Grief, Family dynamics even anger and frustration are vital topics to be discussed within the group. Liz points out that the emotional toll is one that caregivers rarely get a chance to discuss.

 

Liz Moon Ross

“They need to be able to have a place to go and talk and say “I don’t know what I’m going to do,” but say things that they need to say out loud that is going to be confidential, and after they get it out it’s ok, then they can move on. But they need to have a safe haven to express those emotions and get those emotions out. Dementia is more widespread than people realize. Because they just think they’re old and losing their minds while in a way they are but there are things you can do to help care for them. So instead of saying ohh they are old and stick them in a room, we get the caregiver and teach them how to give care and give them the support and the tools.”

 

One of the key supportive tools for the caregivers is addressing the grief that accompanies dementia – as sadly, dementia not only robs a person of vital skills and precious memories.

 

Liz Moon Ross

“Because the brain is being erased the thing that causes your organs to function is being erased and so you usually die from some kind of organ failure. You lose this person twice. Which is one of the reasons we are going to be addressing grief because you lose either your loved one or patient, and then you lose them again when they die?”

 

The first meeting of the Caregivers Journey Support Group is Thursday, the twenty-sixth of September. It’ll be held at the St Martin de Pores office and starts at 6pm. It is open to all caregivers to attend free of cost. The private group will then continue to meet every two weeks thereafter.

 

Liz Moon Ross

“They’re going to realize that they are not alone and that there are a whole lot of other people who really understand the situation that they are in and can appreciate the situation that they are in and can support them in the challenges that they are experiencing. But the main thing is knowing you’re not alone.”


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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