“There is joy in camaraderie and strength in numbers.” These words, by Alzheimer’s caregiver, David Caswell, speak universally of our human experience. Sharing our lives with others brings us a sense of purpose and allows us to find hope and peace during challenging times.

Alzheimer’s disease can be very isolating. Patients often feel alone and ostracized from society. The emotional and physical demands of the disease make it difficult for patients to keep and maintain healthy relationships.

The Wild Bunch of Portland, Oregon
Despite these challenges, Alzheimer’s patients are proving that social isolation is not inevitable.  Just ask “The Wild Bunch” from Portland, Oregon.

It all began at an Alzheimer’s Association learning program.   Every week, the members shared experiences, memories, laughed and cried together. As the program came to a close, the group did not want to part ways. Instead, they formed an unwritten pact, called themselves “The Wild Bunch” and made arrangements to meet once a month for dinner.  And they do. Every month, The Wild Bunch meets over a potluck dinner to tell jokes, drink wine, talk about vacations, relatives and enjoy each other’s company.

The Wild Bunch is not your typical “support group.”  Beyond serving as an outlet to share experiences about Alzheimer’s disease, the group also helps patients and caregivers combat feelings of loneliness. Their care for each other extends beyond the monthly meetings as true friendships are formed. According to one member of the group “Help, whenever needed, is just a phone call away.”

The Wild Bunch hopes their story will inspire others suffering from Alzheimer’s to start their own support group.

Source: The Alzheimer’s supper club

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