Just Breathe: Support offered for those caring for loved ones

“Just Breathe” is a song by Pearl Jam, which was released in 2009. It’s also the name of a new support group for caregivers.

The group began on Aug. 20 last year. Teresa Alexander and Jody Headdy were at a sorority convention when they got the idea.

“I lost my dad and I was looking for something to do,” Alexander explained. “Jody said ‘How about a caregivers support group?’”

“Caregiving is really hard, but it’s done by necessity,” added Headdy, who knew all about caregivers, since she was a nurse in the oncology ward at IU White Memorial Hospital for 38 years. “It can really drain you.”

They started the group to help people through that trying time. They posted the first meeting on Facebook and received lots of responses.

The first person who came to them was a fellow resident of Idaville, Vickie Henke. She had been caregiving for her husband, David, for some 13 years. She was going to start a group herself, so they were the answer to her prayers, she says.

The group is for those who are caring for a loved one.

“Everything we do is volunteer,” Alexander said.

The group usually has about five members who come to their monthly meeting out of the 12 members that follow them on Facebook.

They have a monthly topic that they discuss. In March they discussed power of attorney. On April 18, at 9:30 a.m., they will discuss how to pick a home care agency and home care vs. nursing home care. The group meets at Alexander’s home, 12783 East 450 North in Idaville.

The women research to answer anyone’s questions. They found out who does food delivery in White County for their members.

“One of the most difficult things for a caregiver is to find someone to take your place while you have to go run errands or you have to go the grocery or to the doctor for yourself,” Alexander said. “Oftentimes, you let yourself go. You’re the last person to take care of.”

Besides giving advice, they are trying to develop a list of caregivers who can help those who need that break for short stints.

They have a list of agencies that can help. You can call Alexander for assistance at 574-297-8844 or Henke at 765-418-6753.

They ended up calling the group Just Breathe because that’s what they want you to do when you’re troubled. “It’s refreshing,” Headdy said.

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