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Caregivers Support Group
Lookout Coalition and Room One Team Up

In an effort to help ease the burden on family caregivers, a Caregivers Support Group is being started by the Lookout Coalition in conjunction with Room One. The group will meet the third Wednesday of the month from 1:30 to 3 p.m. starting Wednesday, December 21, at Room One, 315 Lincoln St. S., in Twisp, according to Raleigh Bowden, who spoke at a recent Social Services Roundtable meeting.

"The single hardest thing to do is care for someone with dementia, " Bowden said. "It's exhausting." Bowden, a physician who lives on Balky Hill, will co-lead the group with Winthrop resident Carolyn Sullivan. For more information call Room One at 997-2050.

The Lookout Coalition was started in January by Bowden, a cancer doctor with experience in hospice work. "The goal is to help the aging community age and die well," she said. The group has grown to14-18 people involved with various projects. "We do all our work by house call . . . We don't charge anything. It's all free."

Bowden has met with families and groups of neighbors concerned about individuals "facing difficult medical challenges such as cancer and dementia." She said the coalition also wants to help people stay in their homes while getting the medications and services they need.

Bowden said the coalition doesn't want to duplicate anything that already exists. "We're there as a resource," she added, saying they can help sort out problems such as the need for a nighttime caregiver, how to coordinate family caregiver schedules, or the financial questions a client might be facing.

The Cove's Guardian Angel program is an example of an existing resource, which pairs seniors and others in the valley with companions who offer friendship and assistance. Currently about 30 volunteers are partnered with 30 clients, according to Eunice Marchbank, 997-0227, who administers Guardian Angels.

Additional Lookout Coalition activities, according to Bowden, are a Grief and Loss support group that has been going about eight months. It meets from 5:30 to 7 p.m. the third Friday of the month at The Cove. There also is a project to record the stories of those in the aging population. And, Bowden said, since the proposed development of a green burial site at Beaver Creek Cemetery fell through, the coalition is working to develop a home funeral and green burial site plan.

The coalition expects to distribute an informational brochure this week. It will be available at Room One, The Cove and the Methow Valley Inn.