Caring for a loved one with a long-term illness can be stressful and emotionally draining.
But an informal support group for caregivers – aimed at helping those in such a position cope with the difficulties – will be back up and running next month, according to organizers.
Wendy Hamblin knows firsthand how challenging the role of caregiver can be after caring for her late husband, who suffered from Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s Disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
She took part in a similar support group during that time in her life and said it was extremely helpful to share her experiences with others going through the same thing.
While there hasn’t been such a group active in the 100 Mile Area since 2020, Hamblin said she knows “the need is always out there” for support.
“It’s a group in which people who have the immediate experience, being caregivers themselves, can talk to each other and share ideas, and help each other with the emotional difficulties of the situation,” she said.
Hamblin plans to hold an initial meeting on Dec. 7 at 1 p.m. at St. Timothy’s Anglican Church, and will then look to host meetings the first and third Tuesday of every month.
Participants will have the opportunity to speak if they wish, but anyone who prefers to just observe is welcome to do so. Anything discussed at the meetings will be kept strictly confidential, Hamblin said, also noting the meeting space will allow for social distancing.
She pointed out that the meetings are open to not just active caregivers, but also bereaved former caregivers who would benefit from the group support.
“You may think that nobody understands what you’re going through,” Hamblin said. “But you will find that a number of other people in very similar situations are as eager to talk to you as you are to talk to someone who understands the experience.”
Anyone interested in taking part in the caregiver support meetings can reach Hamblin at 250-395-6142 or attend the Dec. 7 meeting.