After about a year of facilitating various support groups, a gentleman asked me if we could start a group just for men.
“In most of the groups that I attend there are only one or two men but many women and us men have some different issues Linda.” He said
“We could do that.” I answered.
“Do you think you’ll be able to handle us?” he asked.
“I will do my best.”I chuckled.
We decided to call the group Caregiver Clubhouse and started meeting the week after.
Five guys attended the meeting regularly for two years. Others floated in and out.
They had a lot in common. Each one had been married over 60 years, each one also had a wife with Alzheimer’s who was living in a memory community. They would all go and feed their wives lunch and also dinner and then go home alone and cry. They all came from a generation that really believed in their marriage vows and each missed their wives desperately.
They shared a lot with each other and began to form bonds.
One day about six months ago I arrived at our regular meeting place. There were a few new gentleman that day but not one of my five regular guys showed up that day. I was very concerned as this had never happened before. As soon as the meeting ended I start calling them to find out where they were.
“Two of us went fishing together and three of us went golfing, because that is what you’re always telling us to do Linda!” They told me.
” That’s great but not on the day of our support group.” I scolded
“OK , OK we will make sure we don’t do that again.” they laughed.
When I hung up the phone I cried with happiness. It took me two years to convince them to do something for themselves.
The best part of it is that they were all in the same “boat”. They could talk about their wives and each one would get it or they could decide not to and that was just fine.
If you are feeling alone in your caregiving experience find a support group. As you can see it could make a world of difference.
Note: All five wives and two of the gentlemen from this group have passed away now. But the three remaining have all become close friends and continue to share their lives with each other.