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Bachman offers support for mountain caregivers

Bachman Community Center is now hosting a support group for caregivers, held the first Wednesday of each month in the newly renovated Bachman “Bridge room” from 1-2 p.m., with the next meeting set for Dec. 5.

“A lot of adult caregivers come into Bachman, and they’re really struggling emotionally, sometimes physically, to care for oftentimes both their children and their elderly or ill parents,” said Bachman Community Center Executive Director Lissa Goeltz. “A lot of them are getting very little help.”

She recognized a need in the community for an outreach program designed for caregivers and called Hospice of Chattanooga, which agreed to send licensed master’s social worker Pat Flowers to lead the group.

“She’s really able to listen to what their needs are and give support,” said Goeltz of Flowers.

Free for residents of Walden’s Ridge, the group will be an open forum for attendees to discuss issues common to caregivers, such as the problem of finding a sitter when one needs to go to the grocery store.

“Hopefully the group dynamics will be as such that they can find people to be added to their support system,” said Flowers.

She said caregivers often worry when they share frustrations about their situation with non-caregivers they will sound mean or as if they are complaining.

“[The group] is an opportunity to reach out to someone who understands what you’re going through,” said Flowers, adding the normalization of the caregivers’ emotions and experiences that occurs in the group setting is among its main benefits.

The first meeting in November focused on the special issues caregivers face during the holiday season, such as how the family’s holiday traditions may need to be modified to accommodate a care recipient with dementia.

Free refreshments are provided by Bachman for group attendees, said Goeltz, adding donations of cookies, cake or pastries are always welcome.

“We want to spoil the caregivers while they’re here,” she said.

Goeltz said in the future Bachman may organize activities for care recipients as well, depending on the needs expressed by the caregiver group.

“It would give [the caregivers] some time away to take care of themselves,” she said.

Bachman Community Center is at 2815 Anderson Pike and can be reached at 886-4842.

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