On the second Tuesday of every month, CareOne of Teaneck offers a caregiver support group. Led by Vivian Green Korner, who is a Dementia Care Specialist, this group focuses on those who are caring for family members with Alzheimers; Korner is knowledgeable in all aspects of the caregiving process, and she is open to answer questions ranging from the day-to-day struggles, to topics such as when to consult an elder care attorney and issues with Medicare. For those with aging/ailing parents, a group like this is just what the doctor ordered.
According to Korner, “This group started at the end of the summer and all family members who are involved with the direct care of the patient or who are overseeing the care can benefit from this type of support.” She has her own private practice and has been working in this field for over 20 years. Korner was trained by the Alzheimer’s Association and, in the past, had led the JCC’s adult day care department. For those in the group, it has been beneficial in so many ways. “I never realized how many resources there are out there to help my family,” one member expressed. “Aside from going on the internet and seeing what programs are available, the Office on Aging in Bergen County is also extremely helpful. By being a part of this group, I was able to learn about so many additional forms of support.”
Those who attend the group receive informative handouts with phone numbers of agencies and other resources that help, not only with the caregiving process, but other issues associated with aging. The mechanics of the group itself are run like most support groups, with extreme sensitivity and answers to questions that aren’t likely to be asked in other forums.
A question that is asked often with the Alzheimers population is, “How can I get my loved one to not resist my help?” Specifically, the question occurs often with the issue of grooming. The nature of the disease is that the patient forgets that he/she hasn’t bathed or showered. As the caregiver, it is important to address this with as little confrontation as possible. Once the patient becomes agitated, it is hard to gain cooperation. It is important to enable your loved one to feel that they are in control, so never “demand” an action from them. Try to make it part of the routine, one that they are comfortable with. This topic is just one of many that come up and Korner’s experience and expertise allow her to advise properly.
This group is so important to both the community at large and the individuals who benefit from it. The role of the caregiver is one that is quite stressful and there are so many challenges that come along with it. “Being a part of this group makes it less isolating and sharing fears and concerns with others, and receiving feedback, helps with a very difficult situation,” another group member shared.
For more information about the group and other services that are offered by CareOne, please contact Arlin Matos, Director of Admissions and Marketing, at 201-287-8505. To contact Vivian Green Korner, you can go to her website at VivianGreenKorner.com or call her at 201-960-4277.
By Banji Ganchrow