“I know that my caregiver’s journey was helped by Bacoa’s invaluable support.” – Gail
When her husband Joe was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, award-winning local artist and long-time Barrington resident Gail Collier was introduced to Bacoa’s Alzheimer’s Support Group. This was the first of many Bacoa offerings that would help and support Gail in her caregiving role.
“As Joe’s Alzheimer’s progressed, he joined ‘A Day Out,’ and we attended Bacoa’s Memory Cafe,” Gail recalls. “I also started attending additional support group meetings. All of these programs helped me tremendously, and consequently, they also helped Joe because I better understood his disease.”
Bacoa’s “A Day Out” program combines lively group discussion with music, movement and pet therapy, chair yoga and meditation, art projects, and more. It allows caregivers to take time for themselves while knowing their loved one is cared for. This program also connects caregivers with education.
“Because of excellent presentations by experts on the disease, I adjusted my expectations and learned how to make Joe’s life less stressful by how I reacted to his memory loss. I also made lasting friendships with other caregivers, and Joe made new friends in Bacoa’s ‘A Day Out’ program. Alzheimer’s is a very difficult disease, especially for family members, and I know that my caregiver’s journey was helped by Bacoa’s invaluable support.”
Bacoa launched the Dementia Friendly initiative in September 2022. During this introductory event, Gail spoke about her caregiving experience and exhibited her work, An Artistic Interpretation of Living with Dementia.
“Although people with Alzheimer’s have memory loss, they feel how they’re being treated until the end of the disease,” Gail explains. “It is important to have a Dementia Friendly initiative so that the community can be educated about this.”