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Heritage Pointe of Warren Senior Living Community Launches Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Caregivers Support Group

Blog | April 30, 2024 | Reading Time 4:00 Minutes

Diane Johnson is using her own family experience to help others navigate the journey of caregiving for a loved one with dementia.

Diane, the Health Care Activity Supervisor/Director of Heritage Pointe of Warren senior living community, is, along with social worker Leah Pursley, launching its caregiver support group for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia for the surrounding area. This is done in partnership with Alzheimer’s and Dementia Services of Northern Indiana. The support group is open to the greater Warren area, regardless of whether participants are caregiving for someone within their home, or if their loved one is in any area nursing home.

Diane explained how her past inspired her to introduce this program. “My mother had dementia, and my family knew very little about what this diagnosis meant. I often think if I had known then what I know now, we could have made different choices.” Diane said that her father, in particular, struggled with her mother’s dementia. “Not only did we not know where to turn for help; I don’t think we even knew how to seek help. We just dealt with it.”

Diane became the Activity Director of Heritage Pointe of Warren’s secured memory care unit seven years ago. She said over the subsequent years, she learned about and fell in love with people who struggle with dementia. “Remembering what my family felt as we saw my mom change, as well as witnessing and listening to family members of loved ones I work with daily, I have felt the overwhelming need for a support group like this. I have talked about it for several years, but it wasn’t until recently that everything fell into place. I now have the knowledge and a coworker with the same passion. So now is the time.”

Diane said that she and Leah have both become Certified Memory Care Providers (CMCP) through coursework with the Institute for Excellence in Memory Care. She has also earned her Qualified Memory Care Provider (QMCP) certification as well. Furthermore, Diane said she and Leah attend additional training programs and conferences relating to dementia and best practices for care. “Highlights for me have been training with renowned expert Teepa Snow and with Jolene Brackery, author of Creating Moments of Joy.” She’s also studied under Cat Selmen, a nationally known consultant, educator and author, and many other experts in the field.  “I believe you should never stop learning,” she said.

Diane said her objective in running the support group is to help families navigate what is a difficult journey. “I want to help people know they are not alone,” she said. There are mixed and often embarrassing feelings that loved ones experience. She said these include guilt for not being able to take care of their loved ones, fear that caregivers will not be able to care for their loved ones because of their actions,  discomfort visiting with their loved ones with dementia, and more. “These are all normal feelings, but hopefully, with better understanding, people can feel better about what is happening to their loved ones. I hope to teach them how to visit and how to see that their loved one is still in there. I hope to show them how to love them where they are at,” she said. “I hope to give them a lot of information about dementia. But I hope also to provide a community, a safe place where they can tell about their fears, frustration, anger, sadness, etc., and not find judgment but compassion and understanding. I hope together, we can even find laughter amid the chaos.”

The kickoff event of the Caregiver Support Group will be on Monday, May 13th at Heritage Pointe of Warren, 801 N. Huntington Avenue, Warren. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. The guest speaker will be Joe Collins, Program Manager at Alzheimer’s and Dementia Services of Northern Indiana. RSVP by calling 260-375-2201.

Beginning in June, the Caregiver Support Group will meet on the 2nd Monday of the month from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Heritage Pointe of Warren

Heritage Pointe of Warren, which provides a vibrant lifestyle is located in the charming country setting of Warren, Indiana. The senior living community is situated on a 200+ acre rural campus featuring an on-site golf course, heated indoor pool, fitness area, woodshop, and more. Heritage Pointe of Warren offers independent living in villas, townhomes, or apartments. Assisted living, memory care, short-term rehabilitation, outpatient therapy, and long-term skilled care are provided on the same campus, thus offering a complete continuum of care, also known as Life Plan. Heritage Pointe of Warren is owned and operated by The United Methodist Memorial Home, an Indiana non-profit founded in 1907. To learn more about Heritage Pointe of Warren, visit HeritagePointeOfWarren.org