Free training, support for family caregivers
June 1, 2020
Editor’s note: This schedule may change, due to coronavirus safety measures. Be sure to confirm with the host agency prior to visiting.
The Kenai Peninsula Family Caregiver Support Program will hold the following peer support meetings in June. This month’s discussion topic will be “Caregiver Wellness.” If COVID-19 restrictions have not been lifted, meetings will be conducted on Zoom via computer or smartphone.
June 2, Caregiver support meeting at Sterling Senior Center, 1 p.m.
June 9, Caregiver support meeting at Soldotna Senior Center, 1 p.m.
June 16, Caregiver support meeting at Kenai Senior Center, 1 p.m.
June 23, Open house at the Kenai Peninsula Family Caregiver Support Program new office location, Suite 202 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. Hospice will present a workshop on the “Five Wishes” advance directives.
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 Rachael or Judy at (907) 262-1280.
The Homer Family Caregiver meetings take place on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month (June 11 and 25) 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 (June 5), 10 to 11:30 a.m. Contact Janice Downing, Alzheimer’s Resource of Alaska, 746-3413.
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 (June 12), 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 (June 26). For more information, call Brave Heart Volunteers, 747-4600.
For information on caregiver support group meetings around the state:
Family caregiver tip of the month
Wow! Life has sure changed since March. We have lots of new “protocols” to follow. Stay your distance, wash your hands to “Happy Birthday,” virtual doctor appointments, wearing masks and certain hours to grocery shop. When will life ever come back to the way it was, or what everyone is talking about the “new mormal?”
We have heard social distancing helps keep the “virus at bay” but it does not mean to isolate. Isolation for anyone is not good, but for Caregivers we sometimes isolate because we get too busy giving care. We need to break the cycle of isolation, but with social distancing we really need to try harder to stay connected. How do we do that?
We can start by trying something new. Try technology —Facetime, ZOOM, Skype or any of the online options to connect with family and friends. The basics are easy and fun. If you have not seen your kids, grandkids or neighbors in a while, try connecting online. A person doesn’t have to be tech savvy to get it set up and if you are having trouble, maybe a friend or neighbor could talk you through the process.
Stay active in the community from home. If you don’t connect online, try the phone, or write a note to a friend, neighbor or someone within your church group or any other organization you are a member of. Or call the local senior center and see if you can send a “thinking of you” note. Connect in some way.
Limit the amount of time you watch the news on television. Listening to endless news about the virus can lead to anxiety. Limit yourself to 30 to 60 minutes in the morning and then in the evening to check in and listen for updates and changes, but afterwards, turn it off.
Make sure you get outside and walk around your yard, or around your block. Don’t forget your mask. Breathe in the fresh air, walk with a friend and keep your distance.
Remember to socially distance but not to isolate. Let’s find ways to stay connected smartly! Hopefully we will reach a “new normal” where we can return to being with others, yet staying healthy and safe.
- Rachael Craig, Kenai Peninsula National Family Caregiver Support Program.