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Help for dementia patients, families
Caring Closet project launched in January
David Ball, center, helps put together a care package with Janet Mallard, left , and Michelle Barton while volunteering at the Care Closet in the Outreach Center last week.

Statesboro’s Caring Closet project was launched in January to assist families caring for individuals with dementia.

Located in the Outreach Center on Denmark Street, Caring Closet stocks hygiene items and educational materials to assist families with the expense of incontinence supplies and to promote health and dignity of dementia patients living at home. The project is supported by the Rockin’ Out Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation.

 “Family caregivers of dementia patients often lose income as a result of providing care for their relatives as the disease progresses,” said Martha Ray, community volunteer and previous Alzheimer’s caregiver. “It is the purpose of the Caring Closet to alleviate some of the financial burden encountered by family caregivers through providing needed hygiene supplies.”

Longtime caregivers may remember when the Caring Closet opened back in 2008 with the assistance of the Coastal Georgia Chapter Alzheimer’s Association and the Pilot Club. It was discontinued in 2016, and with the recognized needs of family caregivers, ROAD opened the doors again recently.

“During the middle to late stages of Alzheimer’s disease, the patient often loses the ability to control urinary and bowel functions,” said Ray. “This problem is often stated as a reason for families to request nursing home placement for their loved one. As the majority of family caregivers continue to provide personal care at home, receiving a portion of their necessary supplies through this project saves each participating family approximately $500 each year.”

Eligibility is determined through a physician’s diagnosis of dementia for an individual living at home, not served by Hospice. A one-time documentation from a physician that a patient suffers from dementia is required to receive supplies and no income verification is required.

Once a month, qualified families can pick up two packages of adult disposable underwear, bed pads, gloves, barrier cream and adult wipes. The Caring Closet is open only on Fridays 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. with volunteers distributing these free supplies.

“We are pleased to offer this service to Bulloch and surrounding counties through donations and supplies given to the Rockin’ Out Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation,” said Chandler Dennard, co-founder and CEO of the Rockin’ Out Foundation. “The Statesboro Service League active members and sustainers are supporting our efforts by providing the volunteers each Friday. Without their assistance, this community project would not have been possible. We would like to thank Alana Avret, president of the Statesboro Service League, and her members for helping this dream become a reality. In addition, the Pilot Club has offered to provide volunteers as the project grows.”

The foundation began officially in 2018 and has sponsored the Rockin’ Out Alzheimer’s benefit concert for several years now. The upcoming concert, featuring a Fleetwood Mac tribute band, is set for March 20 at the Blue Room. Last year, the Rockin’ Out Foundation raised more than $67.000 and has a goal of $75,000 in 2020.

Those wishing to help support Caring Closet monetarily may make donations to the non-profit foundation and checks can be made out to Rockin’ Out Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation with a Caring Closet Project notation.

For more information, contact Burnette at (912) 536-4133 or Chandler Dennard at 912) 536-9386.

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