Chillicothe volunteer support group leader needed for Alzheimer’s Association

Staff Writer
Chillicothe Times-Bulletin

The Alzheimer’s Association-Central Illinois Chapter is looking for a volunteer facilitator for its Alzheimer’s support group which meets monthly in Chillicothe.

The River Valley Support Group meets at the Pearce Community Center, 610 W. Cedar St., from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month.

Support groups provide a forum for individuals, family members and caregivers dealing with Alzheimer’s disease to share feelings, concerns and information, and to support each other in coping with the effects of the disease.

Those interested in being a support group leader must undergo a criminal background check, commit to at least one year of service with the group and take a two-hour class, “The Basics: Memory Loss, Dementia and Alzheimer’s.” A more formal required training will follow.

“Caregiving is hard work, and caregivers deserve and need a break to protect themselves from burnout. Support groups allow a regular monthly break to be among other people who may be experiencing similar challenges in caring for their loved one,” said Nancy Sweitzer, program director for the Central Illinois Chapter.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association 2013 Alzheimer’s disease Facts & Figures, there are more than five million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease today and that number is expected to grow to as many as 16 million, at a cost of $1.2 trillion to the nation, by 2050. Yet for every $27,000 Medicare and Medicaid spends on caring for individuals with Alzheimer’s, the National Institutes of Health spends only $100 on Alzheimer’s research.

For more information or to sign up, call Sweitzer toll free at 800-272-3900. The Central Illinois Chapter sponsors 20 support groups throughout its 20-county area. To find out more about these groups, visit www.alz.org/illinoiscentral/in_my+community_support.asp or email Sweitzer at nsweitzer@alz.org.