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2014-01-09

HCM offers free Alzheimer Support Group

Contributed

As families start the New Year, the staff at Hill Country Memorial Hospice reminds everyone about the Alzheimer's Support Group, which meets from 2 pm to 3 pm, the third Thursday of each month, on the second floor of the Brune Professional Building, 808 Reuben Street, in Fredericksburg.
The group was started in 2009 as a resource for caregivers of family members and loved ones who have Alzheimer's and other issues related to dementia, according to Susan Mayo, who has worked with HCM Hospice since 2002, most recently as director.
"It is a huge issue, especially when you realize how many people are taking care of loved ones at home," Mayo said. "Caregiving is incredibly stressful. It is so important for a caregiver to take care of themselves, so they can continue to take care of the people so dependent on them."
The one-hour sessions are guided by a social or healthcare worker, and include discussion, lecture, guest speakers and referrals for helpful resources, such as Lifeline and Meals On Wheels. Topics focus on helping patients with any debilitative illness that affects their way of thinking. The sessions are free and open to all.
The group also offers a nurturing place to meet others who happen to be dealing with similar stresses and experiences.
"Not only will the people who come to the group receive support, they are also able to give support to one another," Mayo said. "And we know people who are caregivers have such giving in their hearts. Everyone gains when you come."
Mayo added that the resources of the group are beneficial even for those not directly involved with the patient.
"Even if the patient is no longer able live at home, the stresses of caregiving continue," she said. "Everyone should find an hour once per month to do this."
For more information on the Alzheimer's Support Group and other hospital resources, call 830-997-1335 or visit www.hillcountrymemorial.org.