Free training and support for family caregivers

The Kenai Peninsula Family Caregiver Support Program will hold the following peer support meetings in February. This month’s discussion topic will focus on the Teepa Snow training DVD, “Progression of Dementia: Seeing Gems, Not Just Loss”. Snow explains the appropriate levels of care needed during different stages, which types of behaviors to expect, appropriate activity and much more.

Feb. 4, Caregiver support meeting at Sterling Senior Center, 1 p.m.

Feb. 11, Caregiver support meeting at Soldotna Senior Center, 1 p.m.

Feb. 18, Caregiver support meeting at Kenai Senior Center, 1 p.m.

Feb. 25, Open house at Kenai Peninsula Family Caregiver Support Program in Blazy Mall, Soldotna, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Check out the lending library, durable medical equipment loan closet and more while enjoying a cup of coffee and friendly conversation. Be sure to attend the workshop presentation at 11 a.m., with Marcella Livesay, Kenai Peninsula Branch Manager of ResCare, presenting the ALIGHT approach and services that support family caregivers.

Support meetings allow you to share your experiences as a caregiver, or support someone who is a caregiver. If you are helping a family member or friend by being a caregiver, learn what kind of help is available. There is no charge for these services and everyone is invited to attend.

For more information, call Sharon or Judy at (907) 262-1280.

The Homer Family Caregiver meetings take place on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month (Feb. 13 and 27) at Homer Senior Center, 2 to 3:30 p.m. Hosted by Pam Hooker. Call for more information, 235-4555.

Palmer caregiver support group meets at Palmer Senior Center (aka Mat-Su Senior Services) the first Friday of each month (Feb. 7), 10 to 11:30 a.m. Contact Janice Downing, Alzheimer’s Resource of Alaska, 746-3413.

In Wasilla, Alzheimer’s Resource of Alaska hosts a caregiver support group meeting at Primrose Retirement Community, 889 Elkhorn Drive, 10 to 11:30 a.m. on the third Thursday of each month (Feb. 20).


The Senior and Caregiver Resource Center at Southeast Senior Services in Juneau offers a call-in support group for residents of Southeast Alaska. Call for more information, 463-6177 or 463-6181.

The Ketchikan Family Caregiver Support Group meets the second Friday of each month (Feb. 14), upstairs at the Ketchikan-Saxman Senior Center, 2 to 3 p.m.

The Sitka Family Caregiver Support Group meets the fourth Friday of each month (Feb. 28). For more information, call Brave Heart Volunteers, 747-4600.

Other locations

For information on caregiver support group meetings around the state:

Anchorage, 561-3313

Fairbanks, 452-2277

Ketchikan, 225-8080

Kodiak, 486-6181

Nome, 443-4507

Family caregiver tip of the month

“With your Valentine be cuddled, by a fireplace happily huddled”.

This has been a cold January and brings a lot of challenges we forget about when the weather is mild. As a caregiver you need to be aware of the dangers the cold brings for the elderly. With many elders even a slight drop in atmospheric temperature can reduce their body temperature. then throw in painful joints and winter depression and you have your hands full. Chronic illness, poor nutrition, not drinking enough water and being inactive all affect elders’ ability to handle cold. Make sure you avoid the dangers that cold can bring by monitoring elder care closely, especially making sure they stay hydrated, warmly dressed and have a warm environment. If hypothermia is at all suspected, seek medical help immediately. Make sure you take care of your own needs so you can “take care to give care”. Next, as the super caregiver you are, have a super Valentine’s Day for just you.

- Judy Warren, Kenai Peninsula National Family Caregiver Support Program