The Canyon Lake Community Church’s Caregivers Connection is celebrating its 10th anniversary on April 10. The Group was started by Beryl Miller, a church member whose husband, Earl, suffered from dementia for many years. She decided that dementia and Alzheimers patients were getting care and medication, but there was little support for their spouses or caregivers.
The stress and pressure of caring for loved ones with dementia and Alzheimers takes its toll, especially if the caregiver gets little respite. JoAnn Wickerath was the first assistant chairperson. After Beryl’s death, JoAnn took over the group. Bev Haney is now the assistant chairperson.
JoAnn is coordinating a luncheon on April 10 to thank the caregivers and patients for participating and making the group successful. About 25 to 30 people are expected for the celebration.
The group meets twice a month. There are speakers at least once a month including doctors, nurses, the County Department of Public Health, Department of the Aging, attorneys, and owners of nursing homes catering to memory care. Caregivers come from as far away as Wildomar, Temecula, Hemet, and Perris.
The philosophy of Caregivers Connection is that by getting families to work together, the task becomes more manageable and the stress is lessened. “It is amazing that JoAnn and Bev are meeting such a need, starting with Beryl’s simple idea that has become so important to the caregivers they serve,” said church member Nancy Horton.