PHILIPSBURG:--- On Saturday, March 18th, 2022, from 4-5:30 PM, the White & Yellow Cross Care Foundation (WYCCF) organizes its seventh Alzheimer’s Support Group meeting at the St. Martin's Home in St. John's. This meeting is specifically organized to support those who are currently providing care, have provided care, or are going to provide care to someone with Alzheimer's disease or dementia. The WYCCF invites everyone in this situation to come by and share, listen, and learn through shared experiences. Psychiatrist Dr. Kitty Pelswijk will be present during this meeting to answer questions. As always, the WYCCF will provide drinks and snacks, and the event is open to everyone.
Alzheimer's disease is a challenging disease to cope with. One can slowly lose certain abilities, which may result in losing the independence one had their whole adult life. This gradually makes one more and more dependent on the care of others, which can be very difficult to accept. In most cases, the family members take on the care. And what may begin with light help can end up becoming a full-time job. This gradually increasing workload often proves very hard for family members to keep up with. The caregiver might still have a job, and other responsibilities and, on top of that, may not be trained to provide this type and amount of care.
Besides the practical aspects, caring for a loved one diagnosed with Alzheimer's can be difficult emotionally. Someone's personality can change; they can become angry or frustrated without apparent reason, or they no longer trust the persons that were always the closest to them. Sometimes this results in strange or even aggressive behavior, which can be difficult to deal with. To see a loved one slowly but steadily changing like this, seemingly without anything you can do about it, can be a heavy burden to carry.
This event which started in January 2021 started off with a small group and quickly grew into a steady 20-25 regular attendees. Not only the size but also the mutual trust and respect continue to increase as many personal stories are shared. Because those are the persons that can genuinely understand what they are going through because they are in the same situation. Attendees especially appreciated the opportunity to ask their questions to professionals. Some people prefer to just sit and listen, and of course, that’s fine too. The WYCCF welcomes back everyone who was there in previous meetings and hopes that more people for whom this meeting is relevant will come out.
Many persons in this situation greatly benefit from some form of support. This can be asking a question to an expert, learning from others who are going through the same situation, or simply getting some things off your chest. It's important to realize that you are not alone and don't have to go through this alone. For persons who have gone through this experience in the past, it can help to talk about it. On the other hand, it can be of great value for those at the start of this journey to hear what they can expect and how others cope with specific situations.
For this reason, the WYCCF started with the Alzheimer support group meetings, of which the eight editions will be this weekend from 4 to 5:30 PM in the St. Martin's Home at St. John's Estate Road #6, Cul-de-Sac.
The WYCCF stands for quality care, and this meeting signifies what we mean by that. Quality care is not only looking out for the client’s immediate needs. But we also look at how we can improve the client's environment and the people around them. Because the care for a person with Alzheimer's or dementia doesn't stop when they leave the WYCCF at the end of the day, it is essential to support the people around them. Taking on this type of care can be a heavy responsibility, and it can become hard to provide care if they're not doing well themselves. Therefore, supporting these persons is an essential part of delivering quality care.