2017-03-15 / Healthy Living

Empowering and supporting caregivers

jimNATHAN
President, Lee Health

Caring for another person who is living with a chronic illness, injury, disease or disorder is a challenging and often full-time role. Balancing commitments and responsibilities leaves many caregivers feeling that they can’t take the time to care for themselves. Lee Physician Group Memory Care Caregivers Support Group helps caregivers of those living with memory impairments find the knowledge, guidance and support they need.

Gail Caulder moved to Fort Myers in 2014 to care for her mother, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. As an only child, Gail finds the support group very helpful, as it provides an opportunity to connect with others who truly understand what it’s like caring for a loved one.

“There are spouses, siblings, children and friends who serve as caregivers,” Gail says. “Relationships change when you take on the role of caregiver, and it’s easy to lose yourself when you’re caring for someone else 24/7. The support group helps put everything in perspective — especially that we need to take care of ourselves, too.”

The support group meets twice a month and is led by Lynnette Morrow, medical social worker with Lee Physician Group Memory Care. “Each meeting features a guest speaker who provides information to help caregivers learn about resources, safety measures, self-care and more,” Lynnette says. “As the leader of the support group, it is important to me to make sure that the meetings are beneficial. I survey members to find out what their preferred content includes and I choose education and speakers based on that feedback.”

Lynnette hopes the support group gives caregivers the permission and inspiration to care for themselves, as well as confidence in their abilities and decision-making.

“I’ve been going to the support group meetings for a year, and I have really learned a lot,” Gail says. “I find it humbling to hear what others in the group are going through, and I leave each meeting feeling empowered and blessed.”

Thank you to Lynnette, her guest speakers and all caregivers in our community who serve others every day and night as caring people, inspiring health. For more information about the support group, call 343-9224. ¦

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