MONROE – The Southeastern Association of Area Agencies on Aging presented the Council on Aging in Union County with the 2019 Positive Images of Aging Award for its Next Door Group Respite Program.
“We are honored and thrilled to be recognized in our nine-state region with this prestigious award,” said Andrew Friend, executive director of Council on Aging in Union County.
Conveniently located “Next Door” to the Council on Aging office in Monroe, Next Door Group Respite is a day program for older adults with memory loss.
“Next Door is more than just a place to drop off your loved one to sit,” Friend said. “We are a family filled with love and laughter that includes many volunteers, supporters, family caregivers and neighbors who get together to enjoy life and each other’s company to the best of everyone’s abilities.”
Council on Aging trains and supports family members who are caring for a loved-one with memory loss. Its program is the first group respite program offered in the Charlotte region to help family members caring for their loved-one at home.
The nonprofit is forming new initiatives to support family caregivers. A memory café will meet at the Next Door building monthly beginning in October. The memory café is a safe and comfortable space where caregivers and their loved ones can socialize, play games and enjoy other activities that are not part of their typical daily routine.
Council on Aging is partnering with Wingate University’s School of Music to form the ReUnion Chorus. The chorus is comprised of those with memory loss, their family caregivers, students and volunteers who gather to relish in the beauty of signing in harmony. “Music is one of the last things that those with memory loss hold onto,” said Amanda Thomas, family caregiver support specialist at Council on Aging. “Memories of music are preserved in an area of the brain that are usually unaffected by dementia.”
At the Memory Café and the ReUnion Chorus, family members can provide mutual support and exchange information while enjoying the company of other family caregivers.
“It’s important for family caregivers to know Council on Aging is here to support them and we encourage them to become involved and reach out for support,” Thomas said.
Want to learn more?
Call 704-292-1797 to get more details about Council on Aging’s family caregiver support programs.