Three local care centers are banding together to start an Alzheimer's support group.
Crestview Nursing and Rehabilitation, Southfield Wellness Community, and Windsor Manor Assisted Living Community have partnered with the greater Iowa chapter of the Alzheimer's Association to provide resources and a place to talk for those affected by the illness. That not only includes those with Alzheimer's but their caregivers and family members as well. It is also open to those who have or care for a person with symptoms of dementia.
This support group is the first in Hamilton County. The first meeting is scheduled for Aug. 15, beginning at 4 p.m. in the Sampson Room at Fuller Hall in Webster City. Marilyn Middleton, marketing coordinator at Southfield, said the meetings are also open to members of communities near Hamilton County.
"There haven't been any groups like this in Hamilton County, and we'd like to invite anyone who would like to come," Middleton said.
The idea to form the first support group came from discussions between the Webster City care centers. Jill Scott, Windsor Manor executive director, said the group was an undertaking that would be very difficult for one care to do alone.
"Together, the three of us could show unity and come together for something that is of great need in the area," Scott said.
Almost 70,000 Iowans affected by Alzheimer's disease, according to the Alzheimer's Association, and Middleton said that previous meetings at Southfield which discussed resources for those affected by the illness were well attended. Jamie Roelfs, of Crestview, said it was great that the facilities are able to come together for a common purpose.
"There are a lot of people out there who want more information, and I'm glad we can put something like this together," Roelfs said.
One of the two focuses of the meetings will be to provide resources about the disease. The Alzheimer's Association, most closely based out of Fort Dodge, will provide that material including information packets. The other focus will be to provide a space where those affected by the disease, in whatever fashion, will be able to share their experiences.
"Those who provide care to family or friends with the disease carry a heavy burden," Middleton said. "They might have to clean, cook, do other chores and be up at all hours of the night. It can be comforting for someone to know that they aren't alone in their situation."
The role of the three local care groups is not to facilitate what will be discussed at the meetings, according to Middleton, but rather to facilitate a space where members of the group can voice their questions, concerns or stories. The regular goings-on of the meeting will be dictated by the group members.
"We're not going to start out the meetings by saying we're going to do this or that," Middleton said. "We'll start them out by asking how they are and what are their major concerns."
Middleton said the support to those 24/7 caregivers extends to the care facilities, which can offer a short stay for those with the disease so caregivers can have a break.
After the first meeting, the support group will meet on the third Thursday of each month at Fuller Hall. Reservations are appreciated but not required for the free meetings. For more information, contact Southfield at 832-3881, Crestview at 832-2727, or Windsor Manor at 832-1188.