Chatham Hospital Launches New Caregiver Support Group
Program designed to offer education and encouragement to those caring for the sick or disabled
For Immediate Release: Monday, February 27, 2006
SILER CITY, N.C. Chatham Hospital announced today that it has launched a new Caregiver Support Group to offer education and encouragement to those in the community who are caring for friends or family members with a long-term illness or disability.
The free program is co-sponsored by Chatham Hospital and the Chatham County Council on Aging as part of the Caring for our Neighbors interfaith health ministry an initiative funded by The Duke Divinity Schools Caring Communities Program and sponsored by The Duke Endowment.
Caregivers are invited to meet at 6 p.m. on the first Monday of each month in the hospitals conference room, located across from the visitors entrance. The Caring for our Neighbors program will provide volunteer sitters to support those who wish to attend. In addition, simultaneous Spanish-language interpretation will be provided, and free transportation is available. The support groups are free of charge and open to the entire community.
Among the local residents now serving as primary caregivers are Josefina Martinez and Debra Cox.
Martinez has spent nearly two decades caring for three disabled sons who have a rare degenerative neuromuscular disease.
I love them so much and dont want to put them in a nursing home, Martinez said. Yet caring for them is difficult. They are very heavy and hard to move, so it is hard physical labor. But God gives me strength daily to care for my sons.
Martinez said she had no special training to equip her as a caregiver, but has learned little by little over the past 20 years. She said she hopes to be able to participate in the new Caregiver Support Group so she can receive support and encouragement from others who are in a similar situation.
Debra Cox is caring for her aging grandmother who is suffering from dementia. She also served as primary caregiver for her mother, who was bedridden for six years before her death.
Cox said serving as a caregiver can be isolating, and she struggles with the logistical challenges of arranging sitters to make certain she is covered if she needs to be away from the home. She too said she had no special skills to prepare her for a care-giving role, but just had to dig in and learn on the job.
I find that it really helps when people drop in and visit, she said. Also, the Caring for our Neighbors Program will occasionally bring in a hot meal for us, and that means so much.
Caring for our Neighbors is staffed by local volunteers who provide the kinds of personalized care and assistance needed for the ill or disabled to live independently.
For more information on the new Caregiver Support Group and Caring for our Neighbors Program at Chatham Hospital, contact Dawn Caviness, R.N., at 919-663-9165.