Support group gives parents chance to connect and relax

By Colin Rajala - Staff Writer
Windsor - posted Thu., Feb. 28, 2013
Members of the support group received massages from Branford Hall after their last session. Photos by Colin Rajala.
Members of the support group received massages from Branford Hall after their last session. Photos by Colin Rajala.

Caretakers of children with disabilities vigilantly spend their days assisting in a variety of activities, from basic ones like walking, talking and eating to more complex tasks like reading, writing, and learning - which inevitably wears down and tires out the caretaker. After working a sometimes exhausting eight-hour day, most of us like to go home, kick back and relax, but that scenario is unlikely for the parents of children with disabilities. Their work at home is just beginning.

To provide caretakers and parents of children with disabilities the rare opportunity for time to relax on their own, as well as a time to meet with people in similar situations, Windsor Social Services created a "Parents and Caretakers of Children with Disabilities Support Group."

“I heard ‘stress relief,’ and I had to come,” said group member Holly Bonds. “It takes a community to raise a child, and as long as there is one child with a disability, then there is a need.”

The group is designed to provide support and information to individuals and families who provide care for minors and/or adults with disabilities while maintaining a broad nature and not focusing on any specific disability. The group’s original intent was to meet bi-weekly, but they soon found out it was too difficult to schedule a convenient time for everyone and to get out that often. The group has since changed to monthly or bi-monthly, with each session featuring a different guest speaker. The sessions offer up different ideas for people in diet and nutrition, suggesting alternative foods to try and alternative places to shop, as well as family bonding techniques and ways to connect with their children. The topics vary monthly and can be about assistance for the children with disabilities as well as support for the adults. The last group meeting provided a guided imagery technique, helping people to deal with stress and unwind before getting a chance to have a free 10-minute massage.

“The group gives you ideas and information, and anything and everything really helps,” said group member Diane Pinckney. “You do not think to care for yourself, and you don’t realize the toll it takes on you until you get to a point. I wish we could have more classes like this.”

Getting a chance to get out to the meetings is not the only form of stress relief for many; while they are at the meetings they meet and connect with people in similar situations. Many exchange phone numbers to contact one another on the really rough days for advice, techniques and other tidbits of information that could be invaluable.

“I need companionship of other parents that have kids like mine that can help me and understand what I am going through and everything else,” said group member Andrea Davila. “It’s nice to have people around that don’t make fun of you for having a kid with a disability or blame it all on you. It feels good to know that there is support there.”

For more information call Social Services at 860-285-1839.

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