POCATELLO, Idaho - We see the reports often: an elderly person who has dementia or Alzheimer's has wandered off and their family is desperately trying to find them. That's the reality for many dealing with Alzheimer's or dementia. But the Pocatello/Chubbuck area has a support group for the caregivers of anybody with memory loss.
The group is open to the public, free to attend and meets at Elegant Assisted Living the third Wednesday of every month from 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. While the group can focus on a specific topic, they allow anyone to share whatever they feel they need to share.
The group formed to help folks cope, get advice and find people who understand their situation while dealing with loved ones suffering from memory loss. One of the biggest problems people experience is the change in personality.
"It's really a heartbreaking disease," said Lucille Moore, whose husband began showing signs of Alzheimer's over 10 years ago.
"Ray's was such a gradual thing," Moore said. "People don't believe you when you say this and that's happening, and it takes people a long time to adjust."
She said it's a struggle to see your loved one struggling while not knowing how to help them.
"Their whole lifestyle, their personality, your lifestyle is put under so much stress," she said. "You need a group of people that's going through it to give you help."
Robert Hahn also recognized signs of his wife, Dominga, having trouble remembering things about a year and a-half ago. Now he's trying to find out what steps to take.
"I'm not familiar with any of it," said Hahn. "I came to the meeting to get started on understanding things early, because I know it's not going to get any better."
Both Moore and Hahn said they were able to not only share their experiences but give each other support and advice on how to deal with things financially, medically and healthily – not just their loved one's health, but their own. They said this group was very helpful and a much needed resource for the area.
"I think that Pocatello has a really great potential of taking care of Alzheimer's patients," Moore said.