Support Groups benefit the caregiver and the patient

j0433058Give a caregiver support group a try – at least once – before you say “no”

I have facilitated support groups since working at Health South in 1995, providing guidance in a stroke group, a group for amputees and a traumatic brain injury group. Later I facilitated the Education and Support Groups at the Schmieding Center for Senior Education for dementia caregivers, the adult child caregiver, a low vision education and support group. Over all these years I have heard so many say, “I don’t want to sit in a group and listen to people complain about how bad it is, I don’t want to hear that!”.  Then I say, “Try visiting a group, just listen and see if it doesn’t help you to learn from what the others say.”  That person usually comes back telling me all the benefits from that visit:

  • After listening they learn they are not ‘unique’, that others are in the very same situation they are living.
  • They learn from others how to cope with their daily needs to provide care or to live with their illness.
  • They learn to laugh with others and at themselves and form friendships with others like themselves.
  • They learn about resources, about how others have solved problems and situations they have and are experiencing.

At the Schmieding Center for Senior Education in Springdale, at first it was a handful of aging caregivers with an occasional adult child who was caring for a parent attending.  The first group grew to fill the room, so we offered a second group monthly.  We also noticed that the adult children who were caring for parents often had separate issues to talk about, so we started the Adult Child Caregiver Group.  That group too took off and we had regular attendees who said, “I could never get through caring for my Mother/Father without the support of this group…”.  I learned from these groups the importance of listening, learning, and sharing with others to find the support needed to cope with the role of caregiving.

When diagnosed with an illness, whether it is cancer, Parkinson’s Disease, dementia or a stroke, both the patient and family can benefit greatly from attending a group and listening to people who have experience with the diagnosis.  No one is prepared for the changes ahead when your life is altered due to an illness. You don’t have to speak, just listen.  Gradually all that you will learn will help to adjust and go on with your life. 

If you do have a facilitator that allows the group to be a ‘pity-party’, allows one individual to control the group, or who talks about their own issues and dominates the group – find another group – or start one yourself.  A good facilitator is critical to creation of a helpful, therapeutic group.

Here is a listing of support groups for adults noted alphabetically by the diagnosis.  These groups are for adults only.

ALS – Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Only an on-line group exists now at www.alsforums.com.  A Rogers, AR contact is alsa.nwa.arkansas@sbcglobal.net or 479-986-0335.

Alzheimer’s Disease/Dementia

Anderson, MO.  Alzheimer’s Association Group meets the 4th Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. at the Golden Living Center, call (417)845-3351.

Bella Vista, AR.  Alzheimer’s Association Group meets the 2nd & 4th Mondays at 9:00 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church, call (479)855-1158.

Bella Vista, AR.  Alzheimer’s Association Group meets the 2nd Wednesday at 1:00 at the Bella Vista Community Church, call (479)855-1126.

Bella Vista, AR.  Alzheimer’s Association Group meets the 4th Monday at 10:00 a.m. at the Village House Adult Day Care, 1801 Forest Hills Blvd., call (479)855-4449.

Bentonville, AR.  This  Caregiver Support Group is an Alzheimer’s Association affiliated group meeting at The Meadows, 2300 SE 28th Street. This group meets at 6:00 p.m. every third Wednesday.  Call 479-273-9969 for more information.

Berryville, AR.  Alzheimer’s Assoc. Group meets the 4th Monday at 7:00 p.m. at The Gathering Place, 910 W. Trimble, call (479)253-7283

Fayetteville, AR  Alzheimer’s Assoc. Group meets the 2nd TU at 12:00 Noon at the Fayetteville Library, call (479)521-4353

Fayetteville, AR  Alzheimer’s Assoc. Group meets the 2nd Monday at 11:00 a.m. at the Washington Regional Senior Health Center, 27 E. Appleby, call Gillian Woods, PhD at 479-463-4419.

Fayetteville, AR  Alzheimer’s Assoc. Group meets the 4th Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. at the Washington Regional Senior Center, 27 E. Appleby, call 479-463-4419.

Fayetteville, AR  Alzheimer’s Assoc. Group meets the 1st Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. at the Washington Regional Senior Health Center, 27 E. Appleby.  The group is a Young Onset Patient With Dementia and Caregiver Group.  Call 479-463-4419.

Huntsville, AR  Alzheimer’s Association Group meets the 4th TH at 2:30 p.m. at the Madison County Senior Center, 903 N. College, Huntsville.  Call 479-738-2750.

Rogers, AR  Alzheimers Association Group meets the 3rd Wed. at 3:00 p.m. at Home Instead, call 479-936-9885.

Rogers, AR  Alzheimer’s Association Group meets the 1st TH at 10:00 at New Hope Health & Rehab, call 479-621-5212

Siloam Springs, AR  Alzheimer’s Support Group meets every 3rd Monday at 6:00 p.m. at Quail Ridge Rehabilitation and Living Center, 564 State Line Road, West Siloam Springs, OK.  Call Lanya at 918-422-5138 or email at lanyacarson@ymail.com.

Springdale, AR  Alzheimer’s Association Group meets the 4th Wed at 1:00 p.m. at the Schmieding Center for Senior Health, call 479-751-3043

Springdale, AR  Alzheimer’s Association Group meets the 2nd TU at 1:00 p.m. at the Schmieding Center for Senior Health, call 479-751-3043

Springdale, AR  Alzheimer’s Association Group meets on the 3rd Monday at 6:00 p.m., at the Schmieding Center for Senior Health.  This is a Family Support Group.  Call 479-751-3043

TELEPHONE SUPPORT GROUP FOR ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE & DEMENTIA

Every 1st TU 10:00-11:00 AM and every 3rd TH 1:00-2:00 PM.  Call 1-800-272-3900. Online message board and chat rooms @ www.alz.org/messageboards

CANCER SUPPORT GROUPS

Reducing stress is critical for cancer patients – and their family members.  Attending a support and education group will help learn about the disease, experiences of treatment, and help to normalize this stressful period for the patient and family.  We have many excellent resources in our area to help individuals and family members who are involved, or have been involved with treatment for cancer.

Been There is a network of cancer survivors who volunteer to mentor others who are going through what they have experienced themselves.  Call Hope Cancer Resources, Christy Scarrow, LSW, for more information at 479=361-5847

Blood Cancers Support Group meets at Hope Cancer Resources on the 2nd Tuesday of every month at 5:30 p.m.  Contact Enola Bunton, RN, at 479-361-5847

Breast Cancer Support Group meets at the Cancer Support Home in Bentonville on the 2nd Monday of every month from 5:30 to 6:30.  Contact Susan Earnest, RN at 479-521-8024

Coping and Conversation is for any person who has a diagnosis of cancer AND their caregivers.  They meet at the Cancer Support Home in Fayetteville every Wednesday at noon.  Call 479-521-8024 for more information.

Faithful Friends is a breast cancer  support group that meets on the 3rd Monday of every month at 11:30 a.m. at Circle of Life Hospice, Springdale.  Call 479-756-9172 for more information.

Lung Cancer Group is open to individuals who have a diagnosis of lung cancer AND their caregivers.  This group meets on the 3rd Thursday of each month at Highlands Oncology Group Medical Oncology Building at 5:00 p.m.   Call Highlands Oncology at 479-587-1700 for details and address.

Prostate Cancer Support Group is open to men diagnosed with prostate cancer and their partners. They meet at the Bella Vista Community Church on the 4th Tuesday of every month at 4:00 p.m. Contact Dianne Krolikowski at 479=855-1126 for more information.

SPOHNC – Support for People with Oral, Head & Neck Cancer is a non-profit group providing a support and education group on the 3rd Saturday of each month at 10:00 a.m. at the Cancer Support Home in Fayetteville.  Call 479-876-1051 or 479-586-4807 for more information.

Survivors Circle  meets at the Cancer Support Home in Fayetteville on the 3rd Monday of every month.  Call 479-466-5893 for more information.

UPBEATS  is a women’s support group meeting the 1st Wednesday of each month at Papa Mike’s in the Kingsdale Complex in Bella Vista.  Contact Karen Willis at 479-855-6275 for more information.

The American Cancer Society offers a program called Reach to Recovery. This program offers assistance to women undergoing breast cancer surgery.  Call 479-750-2493 for details.

  CROSS-DISABILITY ADULT SUPPORT GROUP

Fayetteville, AR – This group is sponsored by Sources for Independent Living and is open to adults with disabilities.  Meeting weekly on Mondays 4:00 – 5:30 p.m. at Skull Creek, call facilitator Freddy Honeycutt at 479-442-5600 for more information.

FIBROMYALGIA

Fayetteville – A Fibrymyalgia Support Group meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 6:30-7:45 at the Fayetteville Public Library in the board room. Call Carol Smith at 841-1393, facilitator, to confirm this group will meet.  This group does not meet regularly, call before you plan to attend.

KIDNEY DISEASE  – Contact Robin Hood, R.N. at the DaVita Inc. dialysis center in Bentonville at 479-657-6220.   This group meets at the Jones Center for Families, Room 228 922 East Emma Avenue, Springdale, AR.   You can also contact Robin at robin.hood@davita.com.  Anyone interested in learning more about kidney health is welcome.

LUPUS –

No group exists now.  Call 800-294-8878 for information on starting a lupus support group. 

 

MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS

Two groups meet in Northwest Arkansas.  If you are a caregiver for a person who has MS, or if you have MS, please support these groups and support each other.  It is important to stay contacted with others and support each other. 

Springdale – Facilitator Hilde Olson and her husband Jan started this group a few years ago for those living in Washington County.  The group meets at the Jones Center, Room 113 on the 2nd Tuesday at 6:00 p.m.  Call Hilde or Jan at 479-445-6776.

Rogers – This group meets at the United Methodist Church, 2535 W. New Hope Road, on the 2nd Thursday of the month at 6:30 p.m.  Call Susie Zamastil at 479-633-6694 or szamastil1@aol.com , or Sandra Novak 479-685-4383 at nulife1001@aol.com.  The side door faceing 26th St. has an accessible entrance for disability access.

PARKINSON’S DISEASE SUPPORT AND EDUCATION GROUPS

Fayetteville –  A Parkinson’s Support & Education group meets on the 3rd Wednesday at noon at the Pat Walker Senior Health Center, 12 E. Appleby Road, Fayetteville.  Call 479-463-4444 for details.

Rogers – Held now at the Adult Wellness Center at 2001 W. Persiommon Street, this group continues to meet monthly on the 1st Monday at 2:00 p.m.  This is a long standing group that formerly met at St. Mary’s Hospital.

STROKE SUPPORT GROUPS

Fayetteville, AR  Every Tuesday at 3:00 p.m., the Stroke Recovery Support & Education Group is hosted and facilitated at Health South Rehabilitation Hospital, 153 Monte Painter Drive, Fayetteville.  Call 479-444-2200.

This list is not complete.  If you know of another group, contact my web site at sara@thecaresupport.com and give me the details on the group.  February 14, 2011

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