Your Alzheimer Story
Yael White MSW, HFC Online Support Group Facilitator
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I am a Social Worker working with families who care for loved ones with Alzheimer’s Dementia for 15 years. I have worked in a variety of for profit and not for profit settings. Leaving me with a diverse understanding of the disease and the resources available to families and individuals. When I am not working I am spending time with husband, two kids, two dogs, a cat and our latest addition of 7 tarantulas- although they don’t travel around with us. I love to paint with oils, and I never say no to ice cream, dark chocolate, or Mexican food.
Why did you want to be an HFC support group facilitator?
To be completely honest, I wanted to be an HFC Support Group Facilitator because being a part of a support group is one of my favorite things to do. I believe strongly that a good support group is critical to being a successful caregiver. I love watching a group form and bond and share and ultimately create a network amongst the group members. It is a bond like no other.
Why are these support groups important?
Without being redundant, support groups are important because there is no safer space to learn and share with your peers. The group is there for you when you are in a crisis and then you, in turn, give back to the group when they are in crisis. You listen and learn from people across the spectrum of care and store information for what you may need in the future. Being able to exchange tips for care is critical to managing this disease. No doctor or Social Worker or Nurse can teach what you and your group members are living each day.
How do you think the support groups benefit Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers?
Being a part of a support group also lets you connect with others so that you do not feel isolated. This disease is easily capable of taking you down with it. The demands of care can keep you from socializing with your friends and family and keep you isolated from your community. Knowing that you have a regular outlet to check in is critical for an individuals survival.
What advice would you give to Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers?
My best advice is to find a Support Group where you feel comfortable. It can be in person, over the phone, or online. The important thing is to reach out and connect.
Has your family been impacted by Alzheimer’s and if so can you share your Alzheimer’s story?
In hindsight, my Grandmother probably had Alzheimer’s but she was not diagnosed before she passed away. Other than that I do not have a personal story with this disease, but at the risk of sounding absurd I have spent five or six years with some of my support group members and we have formed some wonderful relationships.
What’s your hope for the future?
Obviously first and foremost a cure!
Next, if we can’t find a cure yet, then greater funding for support for caregivers and their families. This disease has the capability to bankrupt our nation. We need better financial resources and support in place so that everyone can receive the best care possible.
What’s your story? Share it here.