CENTRAL FALLS – Caregivers of people living with Alzheimer’s disease now have a place to talk – in both English and Spanish – at the state’s first bilingual support group in Central Falls, a partnership between the Alzheimer’s Association Rhode Island chapter and Progreso Latino.

The Alzheimer’s Association Rhode Island chapter recently began offering a bilingual support group at Progreso Latino in Central Falls for caregivers of people living with Alzheimer’s disease. This support group – in both English and Spanish – is a pairing between the Alzheimer’s Association and Progreso Latino because the association’s program manager did not have enough available bilingual volunteers to facilitate such programs, so she teamed up with Progreso Latino to offer these to local residents.

Alzheimer’s Association program manager Annie Murphy explained that this is part of the ongoing relationship between the association and Progreso Latino, which is being done to reach further into the community.

“We’ve been working together to try to get this support group started,” Murphy said. “Two months ago, we had our first support group in Central Falls and we had 17 people at the group, which was phenomenal.”

“It has been an underserved community for years, working with people in the Hispanic community,” she continued. “We’re trying to increase our reach because

we know so many are caring for individuals with Alzheimer’s.”

Murphy said that allowing people to express their emotions and concerns of what it’s like living day-in and day-out with someone with Alzheimer’s will prove beneficial for those in the support group.

“They’re learning more to care about a loved one. There are resources here in Rhode Island, so they can learn more about the disease … This is not a disease that caregivers can do alone,” Murphy said. “You really need that support, because you learn from each other, you share a lot of the same concerns and resources to find those supports in the community.”

“They have such strong ties with the community,” she said of Progreso Latino. “It’s allowed us to open the door so that we can have more outreach into the communities, we can reach further into the communities.”

The group meets every third Friday of each month at Progreso Latino, located at 626 Broad St. in Central Falls.

“I know that there was a lot of interest in the group,” Murphy said. “There’s such a need in that community. As long as we can get the word out, the numbers will increase. It’s only being held once a month, but my hope is we’ll be able to increase that to bi-monthly.”

The Alzheimer’s Association Rhode Island chapter is also looking for more bilingual volunteers.

If people are interested in learning about volunteer opportunities, they are encouraged to visit volunteer.alz.org or dial the 24/7 helpline at 1-800-272-3900.

Jonathan Bissonnette on Twitter @J_Bissonnette

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