In caring for a chronically ill loved one, caregivers often give up many of the things they used to enjoy because there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to do it all. Socializing with friends and exercise are often the first activities to go. But there’s a problem with this type of sac-rifice: lack of exercise and lack of social interaction may contribute to caregiver depression and other serious health conditions.
FCA Family Consultant Lois Escobar is all too aware of this dilemma. Over the years, again and again, clients shared similar stories with her—one caregiver used to work out with her chronically ill partner, and missed the exercise and time with him; another caregiver used to exercise to control her blood pressure, but caregiving responsibilities now prevent her from doing so. In short, caregivers might have time to attend a support group, or time to take a quick walk—but not both.
Why not, Lois thought, combine both into a single group?
Thus Walk n’ Talk was born.
A groundbreaking, free program sponsored by FCA and San Francisco Adult Day Support, Walk n’ Talk is an hour-and-a-half combination light workout/support group held in San Francisco on the third Wednesday of each month.
Lois, along with Patty Clement, Director of San Francisco Adult Day Support, begins the group by leading participants in a series of seated and standing stretches and low-impact exercises, and concludes it with stress-reduction exercises and a discussion during which caregivers can share concerns, ideas and support.
“We try to keep emphasis on the positive things caregivers can do to care for themselves,” Lois says. “Everybody benefits!”
In warmer months, the group may begin with outdoor walks. In the future, lectures by professionals on nutrition, caregiver self-care, communicating with a person with memory loss and other caregiving-related topics may be incorporated.
The group meets at St. Michael’s Church in the Lake Merced area of San Francisco. The neighborhood is safe, parking is free and plentiful, and new participants are always welcome. Just wear loose comfortable clothing and a pair of comfortable walking shoes!
For information or to register, call Lois Escobar at Family Caregiver Alliance, (800) 445-8106.
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