FAIRMONT – CREST services are operational again after a long interruption during the Covid-19 pandemic. Joyce Peterson, director of caregiver support services at CREST, said they started in June.
The volunteer organization offers several different support groups, including General Caregiver Support, Alzheimer’s Disease / Dementia, Parkinson’s Disease and Low Vision.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, support group meetings, like many others, ceased to take place. While Peterson was available for one-on-one phone calls for caregivers throughout the pandemic, she explained why returning in-person meetings is so important.
âIt’s so much more stimulating. When you talk on the phone, you are talking to one person. But in a support group, it’s so important to be there because they have suggestions and ways to help each other. The groups are very coherent and empathetic â, Peterson explained.
on said they are open to new people joining. She is also open to continuing individual sessions if people do not yet feel comfortable meeting as a group.
The popular Lunch and Learn sessions are also back. Peterson said there were a lot of people waiting for their return.
They consist of a program, often an educational speaker, that begins at 11 a.m. Then a lunch is provided and people often stick around to socialize.
“Socialization is very important” Peterson pointed out.
Peterson said they had nearly a dozen people at both sessions in June. They take place the first Wednesday of each month in Sherburn and the third Wednesday of each month in Trimont.
She said they tried to hold them at Fairmont in the past but didn’t get a good result.
“We have had good speakers here in the past, and we hope to start doing it again in the fall”, said Peterson.
Spice of Life is also back. This is a fairly new program in the CREST range.
âIt’s an event that we organize once a month. It is intended for people with dementia and their caregivers, whether they are a wife, husband, son, daughter or a home health professional. Whoever provides them with services â, said Peterson.
She said they would meet at the CREST office and do fun activities. In the past, they have played corn hole and decorated cupcakes.
“We had a session before Covid shut us down last year”, Peterson explained.
Spice of Life will take place on the third Thursday of each month at the CREST office.
While many programs have returned, CREST is also developing new ones. Peterson said they are working on a respite program that is likely to begin in September.
CREST also needs volunteers to do some housekeeping.
Anyone interested in learning more about CREST programs or interested in volunteering can contact the CREST office at 235-3833. To view a calendar of CREST programs, visit crestvolunteers.org.