RCI REACH, serving dementia caregivers welcomes new coach

Published 11:30 am Thursday, February 16, 2017

From Staff Reports

AMERICUS — Chances are that you know someone coping with Alzheimer’s Disease or other form of dementia. Whether they are in early, mid or late stage of the disease process, there is a caregiver who has taken on the responsibility of providing for their safety and well-being. The RCI REACH program seeks to provide that caregiver with the information, tools, and support they need to carry out that mission without sacrificing their own well-being.
RCI REACH, a program offered by the Rosalynn Carter Institute and Phoebe Sumter Medical Center, is now available in the Sumter County area. Provided to caregivers of loved ones with memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia, it focuses on the specific needs of the individual served. One on one discussion sessions are held in the caregiver’s home or location of their choosing at a time that is most convenient for them. Together the caregiver and their caregiver coach decide what challenges they should address and work together to find solutions over a six-month period. There is no cost to the families served and all information is held completely confidential.
Matthew Harper of Columbus was recently hired as a caregiver coach. Harper understands the struggles that caregivers go through, as he helped his mother care for his grandfather for many years.
“I think the worst part was his wandering,” said Harper. “We never knew when he was going to try and leave the house. We were always scared that he would get lost, hurt, or even worse. And we didn’t know what to do about it.” These are exactly the types of struggles in which RCI REACH can help caregivers.
To quote a local caregiver: “Overall I found the program very helpful and effective. I highly recommend it for any and all caregivers! I found it to be the most comprehensive program I have ever seen or heard about for anyone dealing with a loved one suffering with dementia.”
If you or someone you know could benefit from these services, call the Rosalynn Carter Institute at 229-928-1234.  Matthew Harper is also available to speak with your church group, community club, or employees if you would like to help spread the word.
The Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving (RCI) was established in 1987, on the campus of Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) in Americus. The Georgia REACH program is funded by the Administration on Aging and provided through a partnership which includes the Middle Flint Council on Aging, the River Valley Area Agency on Aging, and the Georgia Department of Aging Services.