Thursday, August 27, 2009

Circle of Friends

I'm so remiss in posting on this resource for those living in the West Lafayette, IN area. Suzan Windnagel attended the Comprehensive Bereavement Skills Training I went to in May. Her husband had early-onset Alzheimers. As his disease progressed, she searched for ways to keep him active and engaged. Circle of Friends evolved out of that journey, developing creative programs for people with memory loss. Suzan and Joanne Gutek (a speech-language pathologist) began the Brainbuilders Men's Group to maximize thinking, memory, and communication through the creation of a photo lifestory book, cognitive exercises, and art. Some great art has emerged from this group leading to selling greeting cards at a few fine arts fairs. The cards sold out! While the Men's Group meets, the Circle of Support Group meets for the caregivers. This is a valued opportunity for caregivers to care for themselves by sharing ideas, resources, solutions, and offering each other much needed understanding and emotional support. There's also the Circle of Art and Lunch group for men and women diagnosed with early stage memory loss or cognitive decline. Each session offers art activities tailored to each person's interest level and offers other group activities and socialization time. I was so impressed by Suzan's programming and wished there was something similar out here. If you're in the area, please contact her for more information! And if you're not in the area but would like to start a similar program, contact Suzan anyway. She's interested in helping other areas develop much needed resources and just may head your way.

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