Freeman Creates New Support Group for Caregivers

Lisa Olliges
Marketing and Media Relations Coordinator

Joplin, MO – Freeman Health System is proud to announce the creation of the Caregivers Support Group. 65.7 million people in the United States are caregivers – that is 29% of the adult population. Caregivers face a multitude of challenges and even frustrations in taking care of a loved one.

“These selfless individuals need support, comradery, resource education, and reminders of the importance of self-care and how to avoid caregiver burnout,” said Freeman Geriatric Center social worker Jennifer Berry. “Sometimes, all they need is normalization and to know that others are struggling with caregiving responsibilities too.”

Each month, the group meeting will have a different agenda with various guest speakers and tangible resources. This group has connections with physicians who can provide education on disease management to help caregivers anticipate the progression of decline as well as legal resources or medical equipment resources and education on how to utilize these items to reduce the injury for both the individual and caregiver.

“Caregiving can be challenging, stressful and overwhelming at times,” said Berry. “It is taxing not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally. Throughout my career as a social worker within the healthcare system, I have witnessed the impact that a caregiving role can have on an individual. I’ve had several report feelings of guilt that they wish that they could do more or don’t feel they are doing enough. But in reality, they are balancing their own life and the large role of caregiving to the best of their abilities, and they need to hear that because it’s so very important and so easily forgotten.” 

Dr. Henry Petry, Director of the Freeman Center for Geriatrics, will take part in the first meeting discussing chronic conditions and offer information about prevention through diet and exercise. The group is open to all types of caregivers, including those caring for the elderly, children with special needs and the disabled.

Chris Walker of Freeman Health Essentials will also speak at the first meeting to share details of home medical equipment available. By offering resources coupled with empathy, Freeman hopes to help these caregivers gain a sense of companionship through this group collaboration.

The first meeting of the Caregivers Support Group will be held at 10:30 am Thursday, March 25 at Freeman East Conference Rooms. The group will then meet every third Thursday at Freeman East Conference Rooms. Freeman East is located at 932 E. 34th Street.

Caregivers interested in attending should RSVP to Kathy Mason at kdmason@freemanhealth.com or can call 417.347.8463.

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About Freeman Health System

Locally owned, not-for-profit and nationally recognized, Freeman Health System includes Freeman Hospital West, Freeman Hospital East, Freeman Neosho Hospital and Ozark Center – the area’s largest provider of behavioral health services – as well as two urgent care clinics, dozens of physician clinics and a variety of specialty services. In 2020, Freeman earned dozens of individual awards for medical excellence and patient safety from CareChex®, a quality rating system that helps consumers evaluate healthcare providers. U.S. News & World Report named Freeman Health System the Best Hospital in Southwest Missouri for 2020-2021. With more than 320 physicians on staff representing more than 80 specialties, Freeman provides cancer care, heart care, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopaedics, children’s services and women’s services. Additionally, Freeman is the only Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in a 70-mile radius. For more information, visit freemanhealth.com.