FARMINGTON – The first meeting of the new Caregivers Support Group will take place from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 6, in the Crosby Room at Franklin Memorial Hospital. The support group is for caregivers of family and friends with chronic illnesses and will focus on caregivers who also work while providing care for their loved ones.

According to the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, more than 50 million people provide care for chronically ill, disabled or an aged family member or friend during any given year in this country – 59 percent of caregivers work while providing care and 62 percent of working caregivers need to adjust their work life to accommodate caregiving responsibilities.

Marriott Churchill, chaplain of Franklin Memorial Hospital, and April Guagenti, executive director of Evergreen Behavioral Services, will facilitate the support group. Both have been caregivers for many years.

The support group will bring caregivers together to talk about challenges, resources and daily practices that can improve the quality of life for both the caregiver and those who are cared for.

“Caregivers face difficult situations on a regular basis with a courage that most people cannot understand. I have found that talking to others in similar situations is one of the best ways to care for myself-something caregivers tend to forget while tending to others,” Guagenti said.

“Many times, a caregiver can feel helpless and inadequate in the face of a loved one’s or a friend’s chronic illness. There is a need to hear from others who experience similar feelings,” said Churchill. “It’s not easy juggling one or two jobs, caring for grandchildren, and finding a restful time for oneself. You find yourself wanting to make things better, yet needing to put limits on those things that you do.”

Topics that the support group will discuss include taking care of yourself; caregiving resources; communicating with physicians about care planning; and respite options. Outside speakers will be utilized as additional topics are identified.

The support group will regularly convene on the first Tuesday of each month. No appointment or registration is required and participants are welcome to bring a bag lunch.

For additional information, contact Churchill at 779-2509.

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