Support is available for dementia caregivers

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, April 7, 2015

According to, caring for a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia can be overwhelming and stressful.
Caregivers often need support and comfort.
The Mississippi Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association sponsors a caregiver support group in Pearl River County, which is facilitated by trained volunteers, Program Coordinator Sara Murphy said. Throughout the United States, there are 42 caregiver support programs.
“Our facilitators provide a safe and stress-free environment,” Murphy said. “Everything discussed is confidential. We want caregivers to know that they are not alone. They have the opportunity to meet other people going through the same things throughout their caregiver journey.”
Each year, the volunteers are trained and provided resources with the latest information on the disease, Murphy said.
For the past three years, a caregiver support group has convened at the Senior Center of South Pearl River County in Picayune, Murphy said.
Pearl River County Coroner Derek Turnage, Nancy Crowe and Veva Hass are the volunteer facilitators of the group.
“The group is a great resource for members of the caregiving community,” Turnage said. “Members can learn what works and doesn’t work from other’s experiences. It provides them the opportunity to talk about their experiences as a caregiver and become connected with the members and their stories.”
Volunteers also provide caregivers with printed educational material and discuss resources offered by the Alzheimer’s Association, Turnage said.
Turnage said the support group works in conjunction with local hospitals, clinics and private physicians for referrals.
During some meetings, a dementia or Alzheimer’s expert will speak on the topic of caregiving, Turnage said.
“In health care, we see a lot of people suffering from dementia in this area,” Turnage said. “We know the caregivers are out there and want them to know that we are here to help them. We encourage all caregivers to join our group.”
For more information about the support group, contact Turnage at 601-799-0815.
Murphy encourages all caregivers to attend a support group, but if for some reason they can’t, there are resources available online at
“There is also a 24-hour, seven day a week helpline for caregivers,” Murphy said. “Our care consultants provide basic information and a listening ear when caregivers need someone to listen to them.”
Care consultants can be reached at 1-800-272-3900. Learn more about local resources at www.alz.orgMs.

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