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Resources, Resources, Resources

Posted on: 2012 11 26

      I’m proud to have co-founded two support groups, which I feel are a tremendous resource for caregivers in the community.  The first is a support group for family caregivers called Caring and Sharing.  Kathi Monteith and I founded this group over six years ago and it meets at The Arbors the third Wednesday of every month from 9:30-11am.  We designed the group to provide two things:  an educational component where caregivers could walk away with concrete useful information and a “sharing” component, providing a safe place to tell your story, cry, laugh and get advice.  Call Armistead at 1-866-284-1912 if you’d like to attend or want more information.   Cathy Michaels, General Manager for the South Burlington, VT branch is working to expand Caring and Sharing in 2013 by offering new meetings as well as a book group.  Both new offerings will be held at the Arbors.  Stay tuned for more information. The other support group I also co-founded with Kathi is called In Harmony.  This group is unique to Vermont and possibly New England.  It is the only support group for people who have an early age diagnosis of dementia and their care partners.  In Harmony provides a warm, slower pace group meeting as well as a safe haven for the person with the diagnosis.   Typically, the group starts together in the same room.  Each care partner gives a synopsis of the past month so the facilitator for the diagnosee group can ask her folks specific questions.  You never want to ask open-ended questions of someone with dementia.  Specific questions and cueing are important.  The group then breaks into two groups, care partners in one room and folks with the diagnosis in another.  The care partner group is usually loud and fast paced. Lots of steam is being let off. The Diagnosee group is much slower paced and quiet. The facilitator provides a lot of cueing when needed and leads the conversation. The facilitator of the diagnosee group always asks for permission before sharing any group insight with the larger group.  We take confidentiality really seriously.   In Harmony meets once a month and space is limited in order to keep our numbers small.  If you’re interested in joining or want more information, email me at Rachel@armisteadinc.com. Also, if you’re interested in starting your own early diagnosis support group, email me!   Here is a list of some of the resources (local to the Vermont branch) I find most useful.  This is clearly a small list. There is a lot out there but I wanted to keep things simple.

  • FAHC.org- The Fletcher Allen Hospital has a list of all area support groups under their Community Resources tab.
  • CVAA- This Area Agency on Aging provides information, support, meals, case management and much more.  Visit them at www.cvaa.org or call their Senior Helpline at 1-800-642-5119.
  • VNA- The Visiting Nurses Association of Chittenden and Grand Isle Counties has an easy to use website.  Check out their Resource tab where you’ll find links to educational workshops, patient educational materials and information about their various programs.  The page also has a thorough list of local, state and national resources.
  • And last but not least, don’t forget to browse through the Armistead website or call your local branch with any questions and service needs you might have!

    Some National resources include:  

  Before I sign off I wanted to wish all of you out there a safe and happy Thanksgiving! I hope you are able to enjoy time with your family and loved ones.

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