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Active Generations continuing to provide care for caregivers.

Active Generations, which provides many services to our community’s vulnerable older population has adjusted their services in response to COVID-19. On-site services such as fitness and recreation or computer classes are on hold, while services such as Meals on Wheels and Workers on Wheels are experiencing an increased need. Caregiver Case Management program also continues to provide support to caregivers of adults through one-on-one caregiver coaching, email correspondence, and more. Many family caregivers support their loved ones at significant cost to their own physical, emotional, and financial well-being. One caregiver has noted, the importance of the support she has received and continues to receive through this program:

I am Diane, a caregiver for my husband, Mike, who has Multiple Systems Atrophy, which is a rare degenerative neurological disease that mimics Parkinson’s. He went from fully functioning to needing full care in 3 weeks.

The medical community where we lived acknowledged that they didn’t know how to care for Mike, so we decided to move back to Sioux Falls for better medical care and family support. I enrolled him into the Day Break program and was told about a Caregiver Stress Busting class taught by Deb Beringer. I attended and it was phenomenal. I had found people that understood Caregiving and cared about ME!

Before my husband got sick, I took good care of myself but when he couldn’t take care of himself anymore – I forgot about me. The class reminded me that it’s ok to take care of myself and taught me new ways to release stress. This class also taught me strategies on how to stay calm so I could respond better. After this class was over, Deb felt that more support was needed so she developed a mini after care group. To this day, we still get together.

I attend the Caregivers Support Groups that Deb facilitates and Deb keeps us updated on community resources, has a resource library and is available to talk either on the phone, email or in person. In one-on-one sessions, Deb helps me to express all of my needs, fears and concerns about my husband's physical decline and decisions we will have to make. Knowing that Deb is just a phone call away makes me feel confident to maneuver this Caregiver path. I am very grateful to have found Deb and her programs and I feel that it has made me a better Caregiver.

The Case Management program is continuing its support of family caregivers during COVID-19. New challenges, stressors and losses are putting family caregivers at even higher risk for emotional and physical harm. Four different virtual support groups have been initiated in place of the in-person ones and are being offered more frequently. Caregivers participating have commented on how valuable it is to actually see and hear others and to cry and laugh together in this novel, uncertain, frightening time. Coping and stress management strategies, information and resources are shared as well as new insights, stories and joys which help caregivers feel more hopeful and less alone. Case Management also continues to offer support via e-mails and phone calls.
 
Sioux Empire United Way has supported the Caregiver Case Management program through grant funding since 2018.

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