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Slow. Breathe. Release.

Susan Frick | 28 July 2019

As our group facilitators gathered for our debriefing after the last Without Warning meeting, one facilitator shared a breathing exercise she used with family members that session. Ally Vertigan, Without Warning facilitator and Toolkit Project Forum Member, shared that the family members in her group seemed particularly stressed and a moment to reflect was needed. When we closed our debriefing, she led us all in the same simple yet beautiful moment to breathe slowly and deeply while thinking about where we held pain and stress and joy.

I have to admit, this simple exercise almost brought me to tears as I realized the tension I was holding and while we quietly breathed together I worked to relax my legs, my arms and my hands. Until taking time to slow and reflect, I hadn’t realized the stress I was holding and it made me wonder if and how this stress had come across in the group I had just facilitated. Did the 8 people with dementia who had been part of my group feel any stress or tension coming from me?

As a Dementia Support Group Facilitator, we help those in our individual groups consider their well-being but we also need to think about our own. Are we able to recognize and reduce our own tension in order to help others see theirs? Thanks Ally for giving me that moment.

Each of you as a group facilitator should take the same moment. Where do you hold stress? Where do you hold pain? Where do you hold joy. And, what do the people in your group feel from you?

Take the time. Slow. Breathe. And release.

Susan Frick is the Director of the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center Without Warning Program