Joining a support group is one of the most effective actions individuals can take when dealing with the challenges of caregiving. Participants find they share common experiences and concerns with other group members. They also benefit from the emotional support, encouragement and advice that oftentimes leads to problem solving. Each group offered at Friendship Centers’ Caregiving Place provides a different kind of support. All are offered weekly.

  • The Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Group is available for individuals caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other dementia-related disease. This group is offered in conjunction with the Florida Gulf Coast Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association and is facilitated by Paula Falk, Friendship Centers’ director of Caregiving Services in Sarasota County. Preregistration is not required.
  • The Caregiver Therapy Group, which meets only in Sarasota, is facilitated by psychologist Karel S. Cooperman, PhD, who volunteers with Friendship Centers. “This group helps caregivers who are struggling personally with the challenges of caregiving and can benefit from a small group,” says Falk. This is not a disease-specific group, but preregistration is required through The Caregiving Place.
  • The Journaling Group, led by former caregiver and volunteer Gail Hirsch, Ed.D., takes another approach. Caregivers explore and express their feelings through the written word. They share their writing and provide comfort and support to each other. This group, too, is nondisease-specific and can benefit all caregiving situations. RSVP required.
  • Falk presents caregiver education on the second Wednesday of each month at the Robert L. Taylor Community Center, in Newtown, a satellite operation of Friendship Centers.

To sign up for a support group, call The Caregiving Place at 941.556.3268. For more information visit our caregiving section on the website here.

Photo:  Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Group facilitator Paula Falk leads a group discussion.