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Caregivers get their own support

The Alzheimer’s Association Oregon Chapter will hold a “Living with Alzheimer’s: For Caregivers — Middle Stage” class, from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Monday, Aug. 4, at Mount Olive Lutheran Church, 2327 17th Ave. in Forest Grove.

Over the past year, Mount Olive has become a hub of support for local caregivers, hosting classes and other activities. The church group hosted a six-week course put on by Washington County health experts early this spring, “Powerful Tools for Caregivers.”

“It’s a very successful class,” said Barbara Greer, who helped organize the caregivers support group. “They have a very good reputation.”

About 13 people attended the class and have kept in touch since, exchanging tips, information and resources. A smaller group still meets every other week.

“Forest Grove, per capita, is one of the highest concentrations of aging adults,” Deborah Letourneau, who coordinates the Washington County Caregivers Support program, said last year when the group at Mount Olive started. “Unpaid family caregivers are the backbone of long-term care in this country.”

The upcoming class will cover strategies to provide safe, effective and comfortable care to people in the middle stage of Alzheimer’s disease. All are invited to attend the free class, but must register by calling 800-272-3900.

The Mount Olive group is working to organize more classes, including one covering end-of-life care in September.

Greer said the group is also working to create a caregivers respite program by thinking up ways to give caregivers a break with volunteers.

“Caregiver burnout is a big deal,” said Greer. “There are a lot of caregivers out there.”



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