Sidmouth dementia carers have group support

East Devon Altzheimer’s Group runs monthly carers’ meetings in Sidmouth and Honiton

CARERS of dementia sufferers in the Sidmouth area have an important back-up group to turn to.

The Altzheimer’s Society offers support groups for carers at Abbeyfield, Sidmouth, near The Triangle, every third Tuesday of each month, and a similar group in Honiton at the Heathfield Hotel every third Monday of the month, both from 2pm to 4pm.

Run through Rita Myers (01395) 512953, of East Devon Altzheimer’s Group, carers are offered the support of others in the same situation as well as hearing from professional speakers.

Rita, from Sidford, said: “It is run in conjunction with NHS staff. People may not have Stowford Lodge back-up but we are a group in the area that holds regular meetings for carers.”

One such carer from Sidmouth is Margaret, who not only has a husband with dementia, exacerbated by a stroke, but also cares for an elderly relative.

She said: “Although there are other carers’ groups, it is terribly important to have specialist ones for those who care for people with dementia.

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“The thing I like about the group is people are in the same situation, they all understand how you can have good times and bad times, and when it is bad it is really bad.”

Margaret suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and has help in the home for her husband, but says the group offers a place for her to offload her concerns and obtain tips from other carers. She has also made friends through the group.

“It is just lovely to be able to open up to people who understand. You can mention a problem and they suggest different ways of tackling things. It cheers one up and you relax more if you can get things off your chest.”

Margaret, who moved to Sidmouth in the 80s, believes people are still quite ignorant about dementia and doesn’t want to upset people by talking about it. However, she says recent publicity surrounding Stowford Lodge has made the public more aware of the problems carers face.

Rita, who was chairman and treasurer of ED Altzheimer’s Group, said she tries to attend most meetings and invited anyone interested in going along should call her.

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