Free training, support for family caregivers
January 1, 2022 | View PDF
The Kenai Peninsula Family Caregiver Support Program office is located at 35477 Kenai Spur Highway, Suite 205 (located in the 4D Professional Building). You can call them at 907-262-1280 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The program will hold caregiver support group meetings in January at the locations below. Training is from 1 to 2 p.m., with support group meetings following, 2 to 3 p.m. This month’s training features a presentation of “The Misunderstood Epidemic: Depression,” a PBS DVD exploring the difficulties faced by those coping with varying levels of depression. Twelve Americans from all walks of life explain, in their own words, the realities of living with depression: the symptoms, thoughts of suicide, the stress it puts on families and relationships, the loss of ability to work, the stigma associated with it and the pros and cons of different treatment methods.
Jan. 6 Sterling Senior Center
Jan. 14 Soldotna Senior Center
Jan. 18 Kenai Senior Center
Jan. 26 Nikiski Senior Center
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. Call with suggestions and ideas for upcoming trainings or follow on Facebook, @KPFCSP.
The Homer Area Caregiver Support Group has resumed its monthly meetings in the Homer Senior Center multi-purpose room. For more information, call Pam Hooker at 907-299-7198 or Janet Higley at 907-235-4291.
Alzheimer’s Resource of Alaska (ARA) organizes caregiver support meetings all around the state, including the following locations: Anchorage, Eagle River, Fairbanks, Homer, Juneau/Southeast, Ketchikan, Kodiak, Mat-Su Valley, Seward, Sitka, Soldotna, Talkeetna, Willow. Call 1-800-478-1080 for details.
ARA also hosts a statewide call-in meeting on the first Saturday and third Wednesday of every month, 1 to 2 p.m. For additional information, call Gay Wellman, 907-822-5620 or 1-800-478-1080.
Family caregiver tip of the month
Caregiving for a person with dementia can be all-consuming. Researchers have found that a person who provides care for someone with dementia is twice as likely to suffer from depression as a person providing care for someone without dementia. Not only do caregivers spend significantly more hours per week providing care, but they also report more employment problems, personal stress, mental and physical health problems, lack of sleep, less time to do the things they enjoy, less time to spend with other family members, and more family conflict than non-dementia caregivers.
As stressful as the deterioration of a loved one’s mental and physical abilities may be for the caregiver, dealing with dementia-related behavior is an even bigger contributor to developing depression. Dementia-related symptoms such as wandering, agitation, hoarding, embarrassing conduct, and resistance or non-cooperation from the loved one makes every day challenging and makes it harder for a caregiver to get rest or assistance in providing care. The more severe the case of dementia, the more likely the caregiver is to experience depression. It is critical for caregivers, especially in these situations, to receive consistent and dependable support and respite.
Lack of sleep contributes to depression. While sleep needs vary, most people need eight hours a day. Loss of sleep as a result of caring for a loved one can lead to serious depression. The important thing to remember is that even though you may not be able to get your loved one to rest throughout the night, you can arrange to get much needed sleep. Hiring a respite worker or engaging a friend to be with your loved one while you take a nap, finding a day care center, or scheduling a stayover with another family member for a few nights, are a few ways to keep your caregiving commitment while getting the sleep you need.
- Dani Kebschull, Kenai Peninsula Family Caregiver Support program