Caregiver support group begins Tuesday, March 19

The first meeting of a monthly caregiver support group is Tuesday, March 19, noon to 1:30 p.m. in the Fireside Room of the First Congregational Church in Grand Marais.  Care Partners, the group sponsor, is providing facilitators and refreshments. Participation is free.

Care Partners will also provide a trained volunteer, at no cost, to stay at home with the loved one in need of care or supervision so that the caregiver can attend the group.

Roberta Olin, Grand Marais, and Vicki Biggs-Anderson, Colvill, will facilitate. Both have been caregivers to family members. 

Biggs-Anderson, who recently moved her husband, Paul, to the Veteran’s Home in Silver Bay, said that her caregiving role has changed, but not disappeared. “I still feel responsible for Paul’s comfort and safety, although not directly, not around the clock,” she said. “I found a wealth of wisdom from the other spouses and family who also have loved one’s in the vet’s home.”

Providing that kind of connection for those who can keep their loved ones at home is the primary goal of the new support group.

“As a caregiver, I needed strength and stamina, the kind that only those in similar situations can provide through sharing,” Biggs-Anderson added. “A friend compared this kind of group support to the ‘oxygen on the airplane concept.’”

“You are told in case of loss of pressure in the plane to put on your oxygen mask before helping a child or others put theirs on,” Biggs-Anderson said, adding, “I see this group as just that important.”

For more information about the new group and to get a volunteer to stay with a loved one needing care, call Care Partners at (218) 387-3787, Biggs-Anderson at 387-1913 or Olin at 387-9233.

Care Partners was established in 2010 as a collaborative of the Cook County North Shore Hospital, North Shore Health Care Foundation and the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic. Care Partners volunteers provide companionship services to individuals in their home, in the hospital and Care Center. They also provide respite for caregivers and presence at end of life.