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Workshop to educate Alzheimer's caregivers

Is your organization, self-help group or program open to the public? If so, let us know about it. Write (no information taken over the phone) Ruth Walsh, Newsfeatures, St. Petersburg Times, PO Box 419, St. Petersburg, FL 33731-0419.If you have recently begun caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease, you may be finding yourself at wit's end. Such caretaking is often an around-the-clock commitment, which can disrupt your normal lifestyle and be frustrating and disheartening. If you've been an Alzheimer's caregiver for some time, or even if you are a professional caregiver, you may have questions about your charge or concerns about your peace of mind. An informative program for the Alzheimer caregiver will be presented Saturday by St. Joseph's Hospital and the Greater Tampa Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, from 8:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the hospital, 3001 W Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Tampa. Participants will choose from various workshops including dealing with community resources available to caregivers, use of medicines, communication with patients, managing difficult behaviors and reducing caregiver stress. Registration is required by Wednesday; call 875-7766. Fee: $4 for Alzheimer's Association members, $8 for non-members.

When someone you love dies

Recovering from the death of someone you love means mending a huge hole in the fabric of your life. Immediately after the loss, you tack things together however you can so you can do what needs to be done. Gradually, the healing begins; eventually, a scar forms. Certainly, life will never be as it was, but you can be a whole person again, and your life can have meaning. Several programs are designed to help you cope with your grief:

"New Horizons" is a six-session support program sponsored by Thomas J. Brett Funeral Home. It is led by a counselor who specializes in helping people through their grief; it offers you an opportunity to share your feelings with others who are going through similar experiences. The group will meet from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Thursdays beginning June 13 at Redeemer Lutheran Church, 4355 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. For information call 321-3321. Free.

Alan R. McLeod Funeral Home offers a similar support program called "The Comfort Circle." This group will meet from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., repeated from 7 to 8:30 p.m., the first and third Mondays of the month beginning July 15 at Bethel Lutheran Church, 1801 62nd Ave. N, St. Petersburg. Another group will meet from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. the second and fourth Mondays of the month beginning July 22, at First United Methodist Church, 9025 49th St. N, Pinellas Park. For information, call Carole McLeod at 527-7161. Free.

If you aren't sure you'd be comfortable attending a support meeting but think you might gain from the advice of counselors familiar with the grieving process, you might be interested in a monthly newsletter called Afterloss, published by Harbor House West and edited by Margie Kennedy-Reeves, a crisis counselor who also teaches bereavement classes at The Eisenhower Medical Center, home of the Betty Ford Center. Articles cover such concerns as the effects of grief on your health, getting past anger, dealing with loneliness and sexuality, and differences between "his grief" and "her grief." Subscriptions are available through the Garden Sanctuary Funeral Home in Seminole; call Kelly Paul Lyon at 391-0121. Free.

Parent education classes

In a survey conducted recently by the University of South Florida, nearly 70 percent of parents polled said they would take parenting classes if they were available. If you're a parent, you may be interested in Mease Hospital's seven-part Pediatric Community Education Series that begins at 7 p.m. Thursday. (Participants may attend any or all of the classes). The first session is called Preconception Counseling. Sessions to follow are June 13, What to Look for in Your Newborn; June 27, Early Childhood Years: The Preschooler; July 3, The School Years: Keys to Success; July 10, Allergies and Asthma in Childhood; July 17, Communicating with Your Adolescent, and July 31, Eating Disorders in Adolescence: Obesity to Anorexia. Classes will meet at Mease Health Center, upper level of Countryside Mall, near the Sears store. Registration is required; call 734-6564. Free.