Support groups offer comfort to Alzheimer’s caregivers

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Joni Nichols and her sister took on the biggest responsibility of their lives three years ago when their mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The woman they had leaned on now needed them around the clock.

“That felt like a privilege, and at other times it felt like a burden,” says Nichols. “I was learning on the job. Sometimes I was really effective, sometimes not so much.”

As their mom declined, Nichols and her sister turned more and more to other caregivers in the Richmond community. At support groups, they could cry, compare experiences and share emotions for however they were feeling that day.

“Every meeting we got stronger and better, and we just felt like this is a really safe place,” remembers Nichols. “It was comforting to us that we weren’t alone.”

(Photo: Joni Nichols)

Nichols’ mother passed away March 4, 2017.

Through her continued involvement with the Alzheimer’s Association, Nichols is now offering that safe place to families just beginning their journey.

“You can make it through this, and there are some beautiful moments that we never would have had,” she reflects. “When someone lets you walk that with them and view them at their very, very most vulnerable stage, it really is a gift.”

8News is taking the lead in the fight against Alzheimer’s.

All money raised at the Richmond Walk to End Alzheimer’s benefits programs like support groups throughout the community.

It is happening Saturday, November 4, 2017 at Innsbrook’s Markel Plaza. The walk begins at 10:00 a.m.

Follow this link for registration information or to make a donation.

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