Relax: Caregivers’ program helping those who help others

December 2, 2012

There are people selflessly caring for the physical, medical and perhaps financial needs of loved ones with little or no outside support.

There are people that give of their time, comfort and resources in order for their loved ones live a better life.

There are people like Bob and Judy Job that do this and ask for nothing in return.

Luckily, though, caregivers like the Jobs have been given a hand up from an area support group.

The Allen County Council on Aging offers the Caregivers’ Program, which is a support group for those dealing with the challenging and rewarding role as caregivers. The group meets regularly to support and encourage one another, as well as to offer valuable topics and educational resources.

For the past several months the Jobs have been caring for Judy’s mother, who is in the beginning stages of dementia.

“Every night we drive from our house in Harrod to hers in Lima to sleep there. We make sure she is safe at night and that she has breakfast in the morning. Otherwise we don’t even know if she would eat at all,” Bob Job said.

The Jobs first noticed that something was wrong with their mother when they discovered that she had neglected to pay her bills for three months.

“She is confused," Bob Job said. “She says she doesn’t have any money to pay things, but there’s money in her bank account.”

Bob and Judy Job said they have tried to get her to come live with them, but she refuses.

“She is combative. She has some paranoia. If something is lost, she thinks we took it. We don’t know how she got like this.” Bob Job said.

The Jobs said that doctors are not sure yet if their mother’s condition is the onset of Alzheimers, or if she may have fallen and the trauma triggered some of the issues, he said.

The Jobs concurred that it is stressful, but that they have each other for support – and the Caregivers’ Program.

The group meets regularly and offers support and encouragement from others. The meetings are hosted at 215 N. Central Ave. at the ACCOA offices in Lima twice a month. The program is supported by corporate and caregiver donations. There is no membership and no fees associated with the group.

The meetings consist of a short educational topic, moral support as well as a meal provided by Springview Manor.

Kelly DeLong, customer service representative at Springview Manor in Lima said they believe in the Caregivers’ Program because “we find a lot of individuals caring for others, and it’s hard.”

Springview Manor Chef Reymundo Ortiz prepares and serves three-or-four-course meals twice a month for the Caregivers’ Program, DeLong said. “Our main goal is to make it like a night out with fine dining.”

DeLong explained that Chef Ortiz has prepared some delicious dishes for the caregivers. Some of the past meals have included stuffed shells with spinach, risotto, beef wellington and even a stuffed chicken recipe from The Food Network with Ortiz’s own twist on it with spinach and goat cheese.

“It was absolutely phenomenal,” DeLong said.

Springview Manor is a skilled nursing facility located on 883 W. Spring St.

“We also want people to understand that you’re not putting your family into a system. There is a chef behind the scenes. There is a generation in their 80s that think a nursing home is a place to die. We actually see people thrive when they come here, “ DeLong said.

In addition to the Caregivers’ Program, ACCOA offers many other supportive services to Allen County residents 60 years and older.

Judy Doute, senior services resource specialist at ACCOA said they not only support caregivers, but also gives help to any Allen County senior in need.

Some of these programs include chore services, elderly day care services, information and referral, and transportation.

Doute said, “Availability of these services is limited, though. We are always looking for volunteers and service groups to help us. We have a need for more people to help with the chore services like rake leaves, clean gutters, trim bushes or help fix leaky faucets.”

One of the programs at ACCOA that caregivers also find helpful is the elderly day care center. Those caregivers who go to work, or are just in need of respite can bring their elderly loved ones to a safe, friendly environment during the day. Sprinview Manor also offers a similar respite care program.

The Jobs are among about 15 caregivers who regularly attend the evening meal and meetings at ACCOA.

About 20 people who attended the Thanksgiving Caregivers’ Group where they were served a sit-down turkey dinner with all the fixings. The evening’s focus was “giving thanks for what I am most thankful.”

Many of the caregivers in the group agree that they feel like they don’t know what they would do without it.

“We need to support each other,” Bob Job added.

For more information about the Caregivers’ Group or any of the resources at ACCOA, please call: 419-228-5135.