That was also about the time my Dad, then 89 and I started going to the Caregivers Support Group. Paula Falk, (pictured here with Dad) her team and the other members of the group did a remarkable job of reminding us we weren't alone, along with the importance of taking care of ourselves first. After all, if you don't take care of yourself, how are you going to care for your loved one?
For my Dad's generation, sharing his feelings in a group wasn't something you normally should did. I remember growing up as a kid and being taught that family problems stayed at home. Well, while it took a little while, but Dad eventually started to open up and share what he was feeling. He'd heard so many members of the group talk about their frustrations, sadness and the challenges that eventually he realized he didn't have to put on a happy face every day.
Most important of all we learned we weren't alone. We learned it was okay to resent the cards we'd been dealt. It was okay to be sad, frustrated and worried about the upcoming challenges.
If you're a caregiver and need some support here's how to get in touch with the Caregiver Resource Center:
Feeling overwhelmed and in need of a single place to get local information about caregiving services and support? Open to all Sarasota County caregivers without charge, Caregiver Resource Centers provide educational programs, compassionate support, and access to a wealth of information of special interest to anyone caring for a loved one.
1820 Brother Geenen Way
Sarasota, FL 34236
Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
2350 Scenic Drive
Venice, FL 34293
Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays 9 a.m. -3:30 p.m. by appointment.