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Mary's Musings: Caregiving Support Group & Pillow Making Group

By Mary Bridges, chaplain

“Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” — Eleanor Brown, author

I am excited to announce that the “We Care” support group will resume this month. The most exciting part is that we will be inviting members of the community and surrounding area to join us for conversation and sharing.

When families deal with dementia or other chronic health issues, the caregivers often neglect to care for themselves.

A 2003 study of caregivers by a research team at Ohio State University discovered a significant deterioration in the health of caregivers when compared to a similar group of non-caregivers. Even more disturbing is the fact that caregivers had a 63 percent higher death rate than the control group. Before the end of the six-year study, 70 percent of the caregivers had died. These are brutal realities that must be addressed to protect the long-term wellbeing of those caring for the elderly. In 2004, a study performed by the University of California’s Department of Psychiatry reported that family caregiving can take as many as 10 years from a caregiver’s life.

Please share this with caregivers in your life. Encourage them to attend our first meeting at 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 18. If you need to bring your loved one with you, we will have trained staff on hand to assist. We hope this group will give caregivers an opportunity to connect and to share, laugh and recharge. We hope to provide a new perspective on caregiving and suggest self-care ideas. Snacks will be served.

“When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.” — Jean Shinoda Bolen, psychiatrist

Contest Announcement

We will hold a contest to rename our “pillow making group” and the pillows we make. During March, we are asking for suggestions for a new name for the fleece pillows that we make as gifts for all those moving to the Presbyterian Manor. They are a funky heart shape and are made of fleece.

We are also going to rename the group that makes our pillows, presently called Stitch and Pray. (See my February column for the story of our pillows.) We currently meet at 2 p.m. in the chapel on the first and third Thursdays of the month. This is a great opportunity to meet new people. Refreshments are always served, and we share lots of conversation and laughter as we assemble our special pillows. It takes a village to make a pillow, and we need more village members. Volunteers are always welcome to join us.

Those submitting the winning names will be awarded special prizes. The winners and our new names will be announced in the April newsletter. You may email your suggestions to Chaplain Mary at mbridges@pmma.org.

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