Support Group Leader Spotlight: Dale Krech and Pat Soler
By Dale Krech
Pat and I co-facilitate a twice-monthly support group for caregivers in the Sandhills area. Previously, in California, each of us had taken care of loved ones for about 10 years. Pat’s mother had elder dementia and lived with her and my wife was diagnosed at age 54 with early onset dementia, so we bring two perspectives to our support group; that of adult child and spouse.
I was blessed to be able to participate in a weekly support group in California, but at that time, there really were not any support groups for good daughters taking care of the mothers! Additionally, both of our journeys included thinking we could handle everything by ourselves, followed by acknowledging that we needed additional help, followed by admitting that our loved ones needed more than we could provide – better care and a safer environment. Sadly, both of our loved ones succumbed to the disease.
After moving here, we were asked by a local clergy member to start a support group in our area, as he had seen first-hand how many people in his congregation were affected by the disease. We realized how important it was for family members to not only understand how the disease impacted those affected, but the entire family as well. We knew we wanted an educational component to our support group and immediately researched local resources.
We ultimately found Dementia Alliance of NC and they are absolutely incredible. Not only did they provide us with materials and training, they became our emotional partners in our endeavor to help others. We could not do what we do without their commitment and support.
One of the best parts of Dementia Alliance is that all funds raised in the state are used to benefit the people of NC. Local funds stay local, helping our communities at the grassroots level. No other organization makes that kind of commitment to research, care and support.