Navigating caregiving together

For men looking after others

This caretakers' support group is for men caring for a loved one, friend or any person who you are responsible to meet their needs. Is this group for you? 

This group is for men who are living with a wife/girlfriend/spouse with a chronic illness, or supporting a friend or relative an illness that is not expected to improve over time. It could be physical, mental, emotional, psychiatric or all of the above. 

When you share your situation with others, they tend to think they know what you are going through. Fact is, they don’t…they are clueless. We tend to rely on those around us for guidance, for opinions on how to handle situations in life we run into. The feedback you get from a disabled spouse is often colored by their own challenges, illness, and pain they are experiencing. Sometimes it feels like you are in a fun house with distorted mirrors!

This group is an opportunity to share and be heard by others who “get it” as well as being a person who can support others. 

It is a drop-in group…there is no contract, no fee just an opportunity to form friendships with other men.

My story

Jeff Bolek

I am my wife’s caretaker. Married over 25 years it wasn’t supposed to turn out this way. You work hard, save money, put kids through school and finally you’re supposed to enjoy life. Somehow the stars did not line up that way for us.

I still remember that February day when we met with the genetics team for the results of a gene assay. Positive for Huntington’s disease. There must be a mistake, there’s no history in her family of Huntington’s. Described by some as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease at the same time, Huntington’s is a genetically transmitted disease where the brain slowly destroys itself…not over weeks or months but years. There is no cure. It is a mathematical certainty that she will slowly disappear.

I tell people “Huntington’s is a killer and it also kills the one with the disease”, meaning it is killing the caretaker and the one with the disease. People looked shocked when I say it. Too bad they don’t like a reality check.

When: every 1st and 3rd Monday of each month

16:00 - 17:00 AM PST (Pacific Time)
19:00 - 20:00 PM ET (US Eastern Time)

Convert to your timezone here

How long: 60 Minutes


Participation FREE or by donation

Click here to see how your donations are used.

Your facilitator:

Jeff Bolek

USA

Retired, having worked in physical rehabilitation at the Cleveland Clinic for 26 years. I now support my wife who has a chronic illness, maintain the household, run stairs competitively, participate in men’s groups and play guitar. I had a cancer scare three years ago but am now cancer-free.

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