CityView Magazine

September 2022

CityView Magazine - Fayetteville, NC

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36 September 2022 "I could take her to the house that we built together. We designed it together. She bought every piece of furniture in it. But she wouldn't recognize it," Luck says. Luck and his daughters have attended support group meetings at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center. "It hasn't been a walk in the park. I remember thinking I didn't have much in common with anyone in the group since my wife was not that far along at the time, and I didn't realize that I was en route," Luck says. Luck says the support group offered more resources and referrals than he expected. Sam Hutchison, who manages Cape Fear Valley Senior Health Services as a licensed clinical social worker, says the support group helps caregivers cope. "It's a safe environment where they can talk about challenges with memory loss and learn how to communicate. ere's a lot of fear and denial from those with dementia and Alzheimer's, and it helps to have support," Hutchison says. Hutchison says the group helps caregivers redirect their lives and deal with role reversal when memory loss occurs. "When you have children taking care of their parents or spouses taking care of another, you are dealing with a loss of that person even when that person is still in their lives. It's a huge challenge," Hutchison says. When caregivers are with others in the same situation, they can lean on each other and realize they are not alone. e support groups provide advice on tough topics such as when to take away car keys or even what to do when the patient becomes agitated. Hutchison says a more complex challenge is that unlike other diseases, Alzheimer's is incurable and irreversible. Isolation is real when it comes to caring for loved ones suffering from progressive memory loss, he says. Luck says that what has helped him more than the support group was getting resources one-on-one from Hutchison. "Caregivers can get burned out dealing with their loved ones who begin to require more and more, losing their independence. It is difficult to find anyone who can understand what you are experiencing and even more rare to find someone willing to take this journey with you. We try to empower our caregivers and try to help them focus more on quality of life," Hutchison says.

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