Thanks to my Wife's tenacious work, and unrelenting push, we had our FIRST meeting of the Dementia Patients Support Group. There were three of us and a couple of nervous caregivers at the kick off meeting. It was very productive and I was very encouraged that the Dementia Patients are so open about this personal issues. We now have reserves a private room to meet in and plan to meet every Thursday. My Wife is working on getting a Facilitator from Covenant Care or the Alzheimer's Association to help with this group. Today, I served as the facilitator and that is not how I would like this to go in the future. But for now, I am very happy to fill in this position just because I am so dedicated to building this much needed support group.
I was very encouraged at how fast we began to bond as a group. If you have had any group dynamics training, you know there are four stages to group development; Form, Storm, Norm, Perform. Well, we quickly jumped to Norm today. We were open about what we expected from the group and how each of us wanted the group to meet our needs. From those expectations, we found a private room, set up future meeting dates and times, and even started to build an expectation of 24/7 group help.
I am sure future meetings will explore more personal issues and needs. But today was a wonderful start. We have also learned that ACTS is planning some Dementia Care expansions for the near future that will help the generation of Dementia Patients after us. And maybe even some of us. This was exciting news and I am encouraged to hear of these plans.
Caring for Dementia Patients and their loved ones is an evolving process because of the nature of the disease and the new drugs and treatments available. Also, dementia is being discovered in individuals earlier in the disease, enabling earlier treatment. More is being learned in how to house, live with, and encourage the dementia patient.
But, there is still the difficulties of changing personalities, inappropriate actions, and the mental loss of our loved one. So, treatment and care will continue to change and improve foe the foreseeable future. I remember, when my Father in Law had Alzheimers in the late 1980's. To deal with his wandering, they tied him in a chair, all day! Now, we have leg bracelets that set off an alarm if the patient wanders out of the safe area! This are better!! And they will continue to get better until there is a cure!!
Again, thanks to the folks that made the first meeting. We welcome others and expect some other members next week. Our group will grow and our ability to help each other will expand. We share a common enemy, Dementia. And while we cannot defeat it, we can help each other deal with the effects of Dementia. That is our goal. More later.