People are talking. Talking to each other..in a relaxed setting. Stories about family members are shared, along with helpful hints about what's happening at home and how each one deals with unforeseen events.
No, it's not a family reunion. It's usually referred to as a support group, but don't let any preconceived ideas about what that might be or should be prevent you from reading on.
We've talked many times about the Family Caregiver Support Program (FCSP) that provides advocacy, resources for unpaid family caregivers and tons of information. This is a part of that.
In Pacific County, the FCSP Coordinator (Bob Powell) is testing the family caregiver waters to see if those actually doing the stuff might be interested in getting together.
As Bob put it:
"The support groups would be structured as to what the desires of the group views as their area of need." (or desire--my addition). "That means that they could be informational, educational, peer support or any other areas.."
In other words, it would be your group, so your call on what you see as beneficial. I know if you're taking care of a relative or a relative's kids, time can be precious. Daily expectations and schedules can easily eat up the day.
In either situation--Family Caregivers or Relatives As Parents--there's only so much time..and at times a lot of guesswork regarding how to make things run as smoothly as possible.
Enter the support group. Families talking to each other about what they've seen, done, and lived. What has worked well and was decidedly not-well. No experts who have all the answers and can tell everyone the exact right thing to do in each and every instance. (Do such people actually exist?)
This is a great point to jump in. The early formation of the group will allow for ideas to flow and you--the caregivers--can help draw the map.
The plan is to be able to have groups in both north and south county, with family caregivers meeting in their own communities.
Where and how to start? Just have questions? Contact Bob Powell. He works in both our Long Beach and Raymond offices and can be reached at:
Long Beach: 360 642 3634
Raymond: 360 942 2177