A support group is available for Alzheimer’s caregivers

Published 7:00 am Saturday, March 31, 2018

Caring for a friend or loved one who suffers from Alzheimer’s or dementia can be challenging.

Fortunately for caregivers in Pearl River County, there is a support group where caregivers can learn more about providing the best care possible to their loved ones.

Pearl River County Coroner Derek Turnage, who is also an employee for Forrest Health Services, organizes a support group that meets on the first Tuesday of every month at the Highland Community Hospital’s private dining room. The meetings take place from 6:30 p.m. until about 7:30 p.m.

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Turnage said anything discussed at the meetings is confidential and one of their goals is to let caregivers know that they are not alone.

“Caring for a person who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia is a big responsibility. During our meetings, we give caregivers an opportunity to share their stories, so we can all learn about what works and what doesn’t,” Turnage said.

Caregivers also have the opportunity to talk about the challenges they face and share feelings and concerns with other attendees.

Turnage said some of the challenges caregivers face on a daily basis can range from the person refusing to eat to refusing personal hygiene care.

In addition to the support group, caregivers can gather more information by visiting the Alzheimer’s Association website and searching for resources under the Mississippi chapter.

“The biggest reason why caregivers are sometimes unable to attend our meetings is because they have a difficult time breaking away from their loved one for an hour,” Turnage said. “We encourage those caregivers to seek out the help of a family member, so they can attend our meeting. The bigger the attendance, the more ideas will be presented and that’s what makes a support group successful.”

To learn more about the support group, contact Turnage at (601) 799-0815. Also, visit www.alz.org/ms to learn about any other local resources.

“We would love for all caregivers in the area to attend our meeting and if anyone needs help, we are always just one phone call away,” Turnage said.