Support Groups Provide Benefits to Caregivers

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Adele is a woman on a mission. She believes so passionately about support for caregivers that she has been attending North Shore Elder Services’ Caregiver Support Group for over ten years; despite the fact that her role of caregiver ended in 2007 when her husband Lynn passed away.

North Shore Elder Services’ Janice Wyner, who leads the daytime support groups, has worked alongside Adele for the past ten years. In 2002 Adele joined a six week program run by a physician from Mass General and by then she had already acquired a great deal of experience and knowledge, having been the sole caregiver for her husband whose diagnosis of Alzheimer’s came in 1992.  There were six women from that group who wanted to continue meeting and Adele was asked to lead the group. After three years, Adele, who had previously worked at North Shore Elder Services, contacted Janice to propose joining forces with her to help continue and grow the support group.  The morning Caregiver Support Group at North Shore Elder Services was thus born.

Adele seemed destined for helping others. When she met Lynn in 1990, she had already been a widow twice, cared for a mother, and was caring for her father.

Adele and Lynn’s chance meeting also seemed destined. It was at a production at the North Shore Music Theatre (NSMT) that Adele and Lynn found themselves sitting beside one another, mainly due to a ticket mix-up.  Lynn was the guest of a friend whose wife was ill and unable to attend.  “We had such a lovely time talking and we both seemed to really enjoy each other.  At the end of the play we said what a pleasure it was to have met, shook hands, and went on our separate ways.”  When Adele returned to the NSMT the following month to her same seats, the same couple was seated beside her although it was now the wife and her husband.  Adele was asked by them if she would mind if Lynn called her.  The phone call came the very next day and fourteen months later, they married.

“I knew Lynn was having memory issues and he knew he was also. This was before we married.  It was difficult getting an accurate diagnosis.  Lynn’s disease progressed slowly.  I had to figure things out.  I found out I was stronger than I thought.”  Adele goes on to explain that, “I did things as I had to.  I trusted my instincts.  I knew when it was time to get extra help and I knew when I could no longer care for him and needed to place him into long term care.”

Adele is eighty-nine and appreciates that she enjoys good mental and physical health. “I think young, I have young friends, I eat well, and I walk.  You have to keep busy.  I am an avid reader.  I knit winter hats all year long to support three shelters in Lynn. And I have a good attitude.  It doesn’t do any good to complain, so I don’t.”

Adele would like to continue to grow the morning support groups. The North Shore Elder Services’ group is open for interested members.  The morning group will start new again in February on the first and third Wednesdays at 10:30A.M. – 12noon.

“We have so much to offer one another, particularly when it comes to dementia. The support is what helps you cope.  I want people to know you have to put yourself first.  I always realized the importance of taking care of myself.  That’s why these support groups are so beneficial.”

This is Adele’s mission and her passion. She has so much to offer.  If you or a loved one would like to learn more about the support groups at North Shore Elder Services, call us at 978-750-4540 and ask for Information Services.

Author Info

Jayne Girodat

Jayne Girodat is the Communications Specialist at North Shore Elder Services. Along with ten years in the position of Caregiver Support Specialist at another ASAP, Jayne was a long-distance caregiver to parents for the same amount of time. That experience serves as motivation to better understand the issues of aging and to engage people in conversations about those issues. Jayne's background in teaching contributes to her appreciation of social media as a tool to educate readers on aging concerns. "I love asking people questions. Everyone likes to be heard. When you ask and then listen, you'll find everyone has a story and some of those stories are gems. I think it is particularly important to hear the voices of our older adults. Those are the stories I really connect to and hope to bring to North Shore Elder Services' audience."

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