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Hospice, Home Care forming new support group in FF

We live in an area rich in support for our neighbors, and with that in mind Lakeland Hospice & Home Care has created a new Caregivers Support and Education group.  What makes this group just a little different than others already in existence in Fergus Falls is that each session is specifically designed for those people who are caring for someone who has a life-threatening illness.

This Caregivers Support and Education Group meets the 2nd Tuesday of each month from 3-4 p.m. at the Lakeland Hospice House, 394 Woodland Drive, Fergus Falls.

People who provide care for those who are dealing with serious or life-threatening illnesses can have different needs than people who care for someone with a temporary, chronic or on-going condition. Knowing the illness can potentially shorten the life of a loved one can lead to anticipatory grief, isolation and stress. In those cases the caregiver not only has the task of caring for their loved one, but also is shouldering the knowledge that time with them may be limited.

This group is open to family, friends, loved ones, and even staff members who work with those facing a life-threatening illness. The patient can be located in any setting; with a few examples being a home, an assisted living center, nursing home, or even the Hospice House.

Staff members or volunteers who work in long term care centers or short-term stay units, hospitals, or other facilities can create close ties with their patients and clients. Whether the loved one is a personal relative, friend or patient, knowing someone is declining can be painful to see and sometimes difficult to deal with. This support group provides a safe place to talk with others who understand.

The group is facilitated by Joyce Bunnell, a licensed bereavement social worker with Lakeland Hospice & Home Care. According to Bunnell the focus of each meeting is emotional support for each member and the sharing of ideas and tips that help with the day-to-day tasks of caregiving. Self-care for the caregiver and educational reading and sharing resources on caregiving also play an important role in what the group offers.

The group is open to any adult who is providing care regardless if hospice services are being used for their loved one or patient.  The group is confidential and free of charge. There is no need to register. For more information contact the Lakeland Hospice & Home Care Bereavement Department at (218) 998-1400.

The next meeting for the Caregivers Support and Education group will be on Tuesday, January 11.