A Breath of Fresh Air
In 2007 Dick Merrick started the first dementia care giver support group at Clearwater Springs, Vancouver WA. Dick relied on advice from Bill and Lyn Roche for guidance on structuring the group. The Roche’s had been a key note speaker at a care givers conference that Dick attended. Dick named the support group, “A Breath of Fresh Air”.
The original group was what help shape and mold what is now HOPE, a dementia support group. At the request of the Executive Director at the Hampton Cascade Park a second group was started.
That second group grew so fast, that there was a need to start another group there, and within a few months a third group was started. We wanted to make sure to keep our groups no bigger than 10 members.
In 2010 we had a meeting with Derick Scovel, PhD Clinical Psychologist. Dr. Scovel then was mainly focusing on the elderly. In our opinion he was the one expert on figuring out the medication piece for those suffering with dementia. We also needed a medical professional to mentor us, and to make sure our growth path was on the correct route. Dr. Scovel graciously helped us to grow to the next level.
In January 2012 we formed a nonprofit, and changed our name to HOPE, a dementia support group. We started with 9 board members. The first year of our nonprofit we established all of our legal documents to become compliant with our nonprofit status.
In 2014 Dick Merrick the founder stepped down from President, and Jan Malone was elected into the position. The supports groups have grown for the original four groups to eight groups. In January 2015 we will have our ninth group starting.
We are working a concept we call “HOPE in a Box”. HOPE in a Box will have everything that you need to start a support group in your area. It will include all the training materials, training tapes, and forms necessary to get started.
HOPE survives on a wing and a prayer. None of our board members draw a salary, and all of our facilitators are volunteers. We all do this because we are passionate about educating, and supporting those caring for a loved one with dementia.
In 2007 I joined HOPE as a member. I believe it saved my life. I have made it my mission to help educated and support others and they navigate through caring for a loved on with Dementia.
I have been a facilitator since 2008, and was elected as President in 2014.
I came to Hope dementia support group first as a member. I received, support and education that made it easier to cope with the disease.
I have been a facilitator for 2½ years and on the board since 2013. I became Vice President in 2016.
My goal is to help others find the resources they need to get through this journey.
Nazreen has been with HOPE since 2014. She acquired her Bachelors of Science degree in Nursing from Washington State University. She has over four years of hands on experience in skilled, assisted living and memory care nursing as a registered nurse. Apart from working as a floor nurse, she has held position as the Director of Resident Services overseeing the entire nursing department. In her current role as the Executive Director of Specialized Memory Care and Assisted Living Community, she focuses on fiscal control, human resources management, regulatory compliance, marketing/public relations, leadership and training.
I am new to the HOPE board and am very excited to be part of this amazing organization. My previous experience was as a finance representative with AT&T. I was in charge of reports, inventory and merchandizing. My job for HOPE is to make sure facilitators have subs when they are on vacation or sick. I also keep track of participants that attend the meetings. In my spare time I love to cook, garden and feed the birds.
I have been involved with HOPE A DEMENTIA SUPPORT GROUP since the beginning and was one of the founding members of the board of directors and continue to be a member of the board.
My husband passed away with Alzheimer’s in 2011. While he was ill with the disease, I met Pastor Dick Merrick at a class and he told me about the support group he led at the Hampton Memory Care. I started attending these meetings and found so much help with how to deal with the everyday problems and concerns of caring for a loved one with this disease. In 2014, I made the decision to become a facilitator for HOPE, and went through the training. It has been the most rewarding experience of my life to be able to give back to others what I have learned and am still learning about caring for yourself and your loved one with dementia.