We wish to thank Bill Eville and the Gazette for the timely and sensitive article on Alzheimer’s which appeared on the front page on Feb. 21. As co-facilitators of the Memory Support Group, we are grateful to our group members and their families who graciously agreed to share their stories openly so that Mr. Eville and his readers might become familiar with their world and their challenges.

It has been a humbling experience to work with these families, supporting them as their lives change daily by the erosion of memory. One member reports waking up feeling foggy, not sure of the day, and uncertain what to do. He recalls the strategies he learned in our group, often from other members, and the relief he feels in knowing that he has a supportive forum in which to discuss his concerns. The group members share their worries, their strategies, their humor and their fondness and friendship for one another as they are guided towards acceptance of their loss and better management of the day to day challenges they face.

Martha’s Vineyard Community Services first began this program thanks to a generous grant from the Farm Neck Foundation. When funding for the initial 12-week structured support group ended, its members felt adrift, having lost a vital anchor. We were concerned that our group’s well-being was imperiled, but with the backing of Martha’s Vineyard Community Services and the Edgartown Council on Aging, we were able to offer continuing support.

An additional 12-week structured program for those experiencing early stage memory loss, again sponsored by Farm Neck, will begin on March 25. In April, a new grant from the Tufts Health Foundation will support a caregivers’ group for those caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, and an art and music therapy group for those they care for. We are committed to seek continued funding and opportunities to support those in our community who face these challenges.

For further program information please call Nancy Langman at MVCS, 508-693-7900, ext. 209, or Victoria Haeselbarth at the Edgartown Council on Aging, 508-627-4368.

Nancy Langman
Victoria Haeselbarth

Edgartown Council on Aging