Finding resources: Caregivers Community Support Group to kick off

MARQUETTE — For caregivers of people with any condition, Lake Superior Life Care & Hospice is now offering a monthly Caregivers Community Support Group, with the first meeting to be held 2 p.m. Wednesday at Big Boy in Marquette.

“We’re really trying to make the public aware of it; that it’s open to caregivers and their loved ones,” said Tonya Pontel, adult day services co-coordinator at the hospice organization.

The support group will be held at 2 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month in a private room at the restaurant, she said, emphasizing caregivers are welcome to bring the person they are caring for to the meeting.

The Caregivers Community Support Group stemmed from the hospice organization’s long-running Alzheimer’s Cafe group, organizers said.

“We still welcome everyone from the Alzheimer’s Cafe but we have found that many of the caregivers share a lot of the same components, so we want to be able to reach out to a broader spectrum of people,” said Mary Holkko, business manager at Lake Superior Life Care & Hospice.

At the first meeting, Jake Bilodeau, regional director for the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Michigan Chapter, will give a presentation on community resources for caregivers.

Pontel will also speak about resources in the community, as the event aims to give attendees a “full list of community resources that are available to them that they might not be aware of,” she said.

Aside from more popular programs, Pontel also plans to share information about lesser-known resources that allow “caregivers to get out and take care of themselves as well,” she said.

After the informational half of the meeting, attendees can take time to chat, sharing their caregiving experiences, successes, challenges and solutions with one another.

“There are just simple little things that people learn when they get together and talk,” Lake Superior Life Care & Hospice CEO Sue Kitti said.

Attending a discussion like this can be not only informative, but help provide emotional and social support as well, organizers said.

“I found with the caregivers I’ve met in this short time that I’ve been here, a lot of them feel that they’re alone or what they’re going through isn’t normal … Just hearing somebody else’s experience (helps to show) that they’re not alone,” Pontel said.

Organizers also emphasized that there’s no membership required or group to join; attendees are welcome to attend as few or as many sessions as they would like. Coffee and dessert will be provided at each meeting.

Anyone with questions, comments or concerns about attending the group can call organizers at 906-225-7760. For more information about Lake Superior Life Care & Hospice and its events, visit www.lakesuperiorhospice.org or facebook.com/LakeSuperiorHospice.

Cecilia Brown can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248.