Columbia Men’s Group Celebrates 10th Anniversary!
In 2004, we used funds from a Central Missouri Area Agency on Aging grant to survey a group of men who were receiving respite funds while caring for women with dementia. The primary focus of the survey was to determine how we could help them become more effective caregivers. The responses all indicated a need for more education and a better understanding of Alzheimer’s disease. In August of that year, we formed a special group designed to provide caregiver education with a male perspective.
Pam Richmond, care consultant for the Greater Missouri Chapter, has served as the group’s facilitator since 2006. When she recently notified former and current members about the upcoming anniversary, she invited them to share some of the reasons they joined the group.
Herb Griggs, one of the original members, replied that when he first moved to Columbia from St. Louis, one of his first stops was the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Missouri Chapter office. “My wife had Alzheimer’s, and I wanted to get coping strategies and all of the support I could.”
He felt that attending monthly group meetings provided much-needed support and friendships. “The exchange of information made my life much easier,” added Griggs. “I have very warm feelings for my old friends on staff and in the men’s group, and I wish them good health and much success in the future.”
Another member, David Waugh, got involved because he wanted to find out how other men were handling the stress of caregiving. “The guest speakers, especially the physicians who talk about medical issues, have been outstanding,” he said. “I have gained such interesting insight into the disease from the other members. It is probably the best support group to which I have ever belonged.”
Doc Isom heard about the group word-of-mouth at the Bluffs in Columbia. “I joined so I could learn how to be a better caregiver,” he wrote. “I received valuable information, and learned how it affected everyone differently.”
A friend encouraged Bill Maness to attend. “Ted Distler’s wife also had Alzheimer’s, and he knew that the group could benefit me,” said Bill. “Just knowing that other men are having the same experiences allowed me to share my feelings and frustrations.”
When asked about the group’s early days, Joetta Coen, program director for the Greater Missouri Chapter, said, “Even though this group started as a way to provide caregiver education, the mutual support and friendships were a natural outcome and an obvious benefit.”
Known as Men Emerging as Caregivers, the group will celebrate their 10th anniversary on Thursday, August 21, 1:00 pm, at the Alzheimer’s Association office, 2400 Bluff Creek Drive in Columbia. To find out more about this group, or to find a support group near you, click HERE or call 573.443.8665.