Friday, June 13, 2014

No time for a support group?

Recently I listened to an Oncologist being interviewed. She was talking about terminal patients and how their care-givers could gain comfort and relief from attending support groups. However, she said, she was saddened that there was one particular segment of the population that was resistant to this. It was the elderly male.

She went on to say that they were reluctant to join a support group because they claimed they couldn’t take the time away from their loved one…most usually a spouse of many years. Besides they didn’t feel comfortable talking in groups and many had the stoical attitude of “I’m doing fine. I don’t need a support group to tell me how to feel.”

This made me think of my brother-in-law. He and my sister were married just shy of 60 years and when her last 3 years were spent in a nursing home he was by her side every day. Of course I was worried about my sister but I was concerned about him too and wondered if he ever took time for himself.

So you can imagine how happy I was when I last visited and he introduced me to the Romeos … 5 elderly men with loved ones in the same facility. I doubt if you could get them to a “support group” but a good meal out once a week with the guys was OK. They were the Retired Old Men Eating Out and they’d forged a trusting relationship over the years. They would compare notes, share stories about managing the difficulties of living alone and, best of all, they never had to feel alone.

In other words …(Shhh, don’t tell) … a support group!

 

10 Comments:

Blogger Bonnie Jacobs said...

One man in my Sunday school class eats with his Romeo friends in Chattanooga. His wife has Alzheimer's and is getting worse, so he really needs their support.

10:33 AM  
Blogger kenju said...

Why is it that men refuse to admit they need support??

If our situation was reversed, I know that mr. kenju would try to be stoic and refuse any support that wasn't foisted on him by our children.

I, on the other hand, take it wherever I can get it!! lol

1:18 PM  
Blogger kenju said...

Why is it that men refuse to admit they need support??

If our situation was reversed, I know that mr. kenju would try to be stoic and refuse any support that wasn't foisted on him by our children.

I, on the other hand, take it wherever I can get it!! lol

1:18 PM  
Blogger possum said...

Guess support groups are right up there with asking directions and reading instructions... real men don't DO these things! Right.
How great for the ROMEOs... and others like them.
Our local ROMEOs meet for coffee at Hardees and hang out for an hour or so sipping coffee and nibbling on stuff their doctors probably told them they shouldn't have... but mostly they have each other.
Good post.

4:32 AM  
Blogger NCmountainwoman said...

We have a ROMEO group in our community. It's gotten so large they have three groups and rotate members in each of the three. Sometimes I think I would love to hear their conversations. But then again, maybe not.

10:06 AM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

I would think that a spontaneous, organic group is more therapeutic than an assembled one. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

6:32 AM  
OpenID schmidleysscribblins.com said...

Some support groups exist online. Some are spontaneous. Wonderful that a spontaneous support group formed at the facility that housed your relative.

10:23 AM  
Blogger troutbirder said...

How nice. The day will come when I'll be joining one. Wait. Maybe I already have. Our long time friends and neighbors here in smalltown. I'm counting on Mayo Clinic as well.....:)

3:04 PM  
Blogger Syd said...

I know that my FIL would not admit he needed any help in caring for Mom. He did everything he could to chase the caregivers away. And then he had to eventually go into a nursing home because he became so difficult and medically unstable. It was indeed sad. Hard to change the old dogs though. Glad that these men have found some comfort from each other.

4:54 PM  
Blogger Beatrice P. Boyd said...

A very moving post, GInnie, and how wonderful that these men were able to find support even if they didn't call it that by name.

4:26 PM  

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