Navigating the challenges of caring for a loved one with dementia can be an isolating and emotionally taxing journey. For those seeking solace and understanding, the Caregiver Support groups at Jewish Family Service (JFS) have become a lifeline. Rosemary Quatrale, the Older Adult Care Manager at JFS, initiated these groups six years ago to provide a sense of community and support for caregivers facing the complexities of a dementia diagnosis, often involving a parent or spouse.
Rosemary's inspiration to start these groups stems from her personal experience as a caregiver for a woman with dementia. Having found solace in a supportive community herself, she saw the profound impact it had on her well-being. This motivated her to establish a similar network at JFS in May 2017.
In each monthly group session, Rosemary not only facilitates a platform for caregivers to share their experiences, but also imparts valuable education. In a recent session in November, the discussion focused on navigating the challenges of the upcoming holidays and maintaining a sense of peace during this time. The groups foster a supportive environment where members can relate to the various situations they encounter while caring for their loved ones.
“Our original group is still friends with each other, still keep in touch with each other, and they have all lost their person,” Rosemary said. “They really bond with each other. It’s really beautiful.” The impact of this sense of community is evident in the heartfelt gratitude expressed by one member who wrote, "We cannot thank you enough for all you have done for our family along this incredibly hard and long journey. So grateful for the love and support you have offered our family. We are beyond blessed to not have made this journey alone."
The need for such support is underscored by the growing prevalence of dementia. Researchers project a 23.5% increase in Utahns with dementia between 2020 and 2025, totaling 42,000 individuals. Presently, 99,000 family caregivers in Utah bear the weight of this disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Having a resource like the JFS Caregiver Support groups can make this journey a little easier. “What JFS has done in the dementia community is so good,” said another support group member.
For more information about the Caregiver Support program and other dementia-related services offered by JFS, please contact Rosemary, call JFS at 801-746-4334, or visit the website at Jfsutah.org/our-programs/for-seniors.