‘We help each other’: RN Griffiths hosts memory-loss support group

One Thursday a month at 1 p.m., registered nurse Sue Griffiths, Community Caregivers’ intake coordinator, hosts a group of men and women, mostly women, who have come together for support. Their spouse or parents have memory-loss issues.

The purpose of the group, according to the literature handed out to each new person, “is to offer caregiver support, information, resources, and socialization in a comfortable environment.”

In fact, that description is perfect.

Susan had invited me to come to a group session. The ages of the people varied. About half of the members were there because of their spouse and half because a parent, or parents, were experiencing memory issues.

They introduced themselves, and gave some background and an update of their particular situation.  All listened carefully and added supportive comments or asked a question.

“Therapeutic lying” was a term they offered up as an important tool. They all seemed to know each other, though it was evident some were newer to having a loved one with memory loss than others.

The conversation didn’t really deal with why memory loss occurred. The focus was on how to help each other cope with what is a very painful, lonely, frustrating, and sad situation with someone you love.

Before the session concluded, one woman said to me, “You don’t always hear what you want to hear.”

Another woman said the group was “a great resource.”

One woman had a lanyard around her neck. I thought she had come from work where people have to wear these IDs. She said, “No. They’re my mother’s car keys so she won’t drive.”

As the hour ended, Sue wrapped up saying, “Call me if you need anything.  I’ll see you next month.”

As I walked out to the parking lot, some of the women continued their talking. One said to me, “We help each other.”

Caregivers partners with the Alzheimer’s Association to host the meetings for which there is no charge. All meetings are open to the public and advanced registration is preferred but not required. Please call 456-2898 or email info@commujnitycaregivers.org if you’d like to attend.

Respite volunteers may be available but must be requested 10 days in advance. Meetings are on the third Thursday of the month in the music room at Christ the Kind Church at 20 Sumpter Ave. in Guilderland.

Just a reminder that orientation for new volunteers will be held on Feb. 11 at noon and Feb. 24 at 3 p.m.  Call the office at the above number to let staff know you’d like to attend. The staff will send out materials prior to the meeting.