Longboat Key caregivers will soon have the chance to get some extra support.
The Jewish Family and Children Services of the Suncoast is bringing a caregiver support group to the island.
The caregivers group will meet from 10:30-11:30 a.m. on the last Tuesday of the month for February and March in the Centre Shoppes above the Blue Dolphin Cafe. It’s open to all who are responsible for the care of a family member or friend.
Pamela Lasko, a facilitator with JFCS who has her master’s degree in social work, will lead the group. She realizes that not everyone will want to join a group, but she and those at the Paradise Center wanted a service like this to be available.
“Not everybody decides to go to the caregiver group,” Lasko said.
“It’s really a personal thing if they’re ready for it, but we just kind of wanted to make it available.”
JFCS has offered a caregiver support group at the Weinberg Campus on Fruitville Road in Sarasota for 15 years, along with some support in Venice, but now that offering is being expanded to Longboat Key residents who might not want to drive off the island for that kind of support.
“We realized that there may be isolated seniors or people who just don’t want to drive over to Fruitville or are at the point of not driving,” Lasko said.
“We just wanted to be a bit more local in area for them.”
Lasko said there can be a stigma for caregivers that people don’t want to talk about what’s going on with their spouses or family members, but this group opens up that discussion.
“It’s a place for them to feel safe and not feel judged and be able to open up and share really the loss, because it is a loss,” Lasko said.
Aside from a safe place, the group also lends itself to the chance to make friends and meet new people she said.
“We just want to let them know that they’re not alone, that we’re here to support them,” Lasko said.