Aspen House hosting caregiver support group

By Morinvillenews.com Staff

Morinville – Caregivers feeling the pressures of looking after their loved ones will soon have the opportunity to share their experiences with and learn from others who are fulfilling the same role. Aspen House will be starting a caregiver support group in November, allowing area caregivers to network with one another.

Aspen House Client Coordinator Cristy Dudzic said she and Loralee Elliott, Aspen House’s recreational therapist, decided to offer the program after seeing the need.

“We got together and we decided that we have a lot of family members that are really suffering from caregiver burden,” Duzdic said, noting the need extends beyond the family members within the facility to the community at large. “We thought about starting up some kind of a group to offer support for these people.”

Dudzic said she and Elliott received training through the Alberta Caregivers Association so they could initiate the support group within Aspen House, allowing people in the community to access information on the resources available to caregivers.

“Similar to any other support group, it’s going to give them maybe a little bit of hope, a little bit of peace,” Duzdic said of the upcoming program. “It also offers them the opportunity to learn about networking, finding different areas where they can receive help and not just feel that it’s all falling on them. I guess it’s up to the individual how far that they want to take it, but there’s definitely a lot that can be gained from coming.”

Dudzic said the sessions are open to those looking after an aging parent but also to other caregivers as well. “We recognize that not everybody that is a caregiver is caring for their elderly parent,” she said, adding that the sessions can be helpful to those caring for a disabled child or family member who is dying. “Caregivers are everybody. Just about every one of us falls under the blanket of a caregiver at some point in time in our life.”

The free biweekly sessions will run on Thursdays from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m., beginning Nov. 4 and running until Feb. 17.

“It’s just a really good opportunity for them to come out and get together, meet people like them and develop their own support group,” Dudzic said. “Sometimes when the group is done, the people will remain in sort of their own satellite support group. They’ll just meet for coffee once a month on their own and offer that extra little piece that they’re not getting.”

Deadline for registering for the caregiver support group is Oct. 28. People looking to participate in the sessions can do so by contacting Cristy Dudzic at 780-939-1297 or by e-mailing her at cristy.dudzic@albertahealthservices.ca.

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