Teleconferencing Option for Support Group


Alzheimer’s disease often has a major impact on the family. There is increased stress due to changes in lifestyle, family roles and the affected person’s behavior and needs. It’s normal for the family caregiver to feel overwhelmed, confused and emotionally drained at times.

Family caregiver support groups can help.

The Scioto County Alzheimer’s Association Family Caregiver Support Group is adding the option of teleconferencing as a way to participate in monthly meetings. Teleconferencing will give family caregivers who are unable to attend meetings in person, the ability to participate by phone. The Alzheimer’s Association understands some family caregivers cannot attend in person meetings as the person with dementia cannot be left alone and the caregiver does not always have someone that can stay with the diagnosed individual.

“We understand caregivers face many barriers when trying to leave the home and want to do everything possible to reach out to those isolated caregivers,” said Alzheimer’s Association Branch Program Manager, Melissa Dever, BSW, LSW.

The support group meets on the first Tuesday of each month at Southern Ohio Medical Center – East Campus (Gibson Building), 2201 25th St., Portsmouth. The support group meetings are held from 1-2:30 p.m. Alzheimer’s Association Branch Program Manager Melissa Dever, BSW, LSW, and Erica Kegley, Community Education Manager II with Southern Ohio Medical Center Senior Behavioral Medicine Care Unit, serve as co-facilitators for the group.

Individuals who are interested in participating in the support group by phone have two options. They can contact the support group’s conference line at (401) 283-4239 and enter Pin # 95249 when prompted. The other option is to call Ms. Dever prior to the meeting and provide your telephone number. Ms. Dever will then contact you directly through the conference line. Individuals will need to either call in or be ready to accept a call by 1 p.m. Participants by telephone will be able to hear others speak who are in attendance at the in person meeting and those in attendance will be able to hear those participating by telephone.

“I sincerely hope caregivers in the area take advantage of this opportunity. Emotional support and validation are vital to the health of the Alzheimer’s/Dementia caregiver,” said Ms. Dever.

The program is free and open to family caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia in Portsmouth as well as neighboring communities.

Family caregiver support groups are small discussion groups for caregivers, family members and friends of people with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. It is an opportunity for caregivers, family members and/or friends of persons with dementia to gather together to discuss issues related to Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, discuss caregiving challenges and exchange information and ideas, and provide mutual support with others who are in similar situations.

To learn more about the caregiver support group meeting or other Association programs and services, please contact Ms. Dever at (740) 710-1821 or (800) 272-3900.

Various programs and services of the Alzheimer’s Association are funded in part by the Ohio Department of Aging through the Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio and the Area Agency on Aging District 7, Inc. All services are provided without regard to race, age, color, religion, sex, disability, national origin, or ancestry.

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