Jean Hayden, Support Group Co-Facilitator
"My trigger to get more involved was just knowing that there were people out there who felt alone.”
Jean is a Co-Facilitator for multiple Alzheimer’s Association groups including: Early Stage Support Group (Beaver Dam), Caregiver Support Group (Juneau) and Power Tools for Caregivers Class (Dodge & Jefferson Counties).
Jean’s journey with the Alzheimer’s Association began in 2004 when her husband Frank was diagnosed with Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD) at the age of 53. The first call she made was to the Alzheimer’s Association to find resources. She took advantage of resources and support groups to help her family. “No one person’s struggle is easier or harder,” says Jean. “I found talking about our journey at support groups a very helpful way to cope.” She felt at peace when they moved Frank to a long-term care facility. Jean reflected that, “It wasn’t my job to take care of Frank – it was my job to make sure that he was taken care of.” Frank passed away in November 2018.
When asked about why she volunteered, Jean shared, “I volunteered in the beginning so that I could participate and learn everything I could in order to help Frank and my family through this journey. I needed education and support. As the weeks, months, and years went by, I was blessed and helped beyond my farthest dreams. I cannot imagine what our life would have been like without the many people that shared their knowledge, experiences, advice, support and prayers. So, whether you call my volunteering; PAYING IT FORWARD, GIVING BACK, A PASSION, OR A CALLING, it is what I need to do. If I can help just one person when I speak at conferences, or facilitate a class or meet someone at a random party, meeting or restaurant, I feel compelled to do it. So, yes, volunteering is now my way of saying THANK YOU! I would tell someone that there are many different ways to volunteer. The Alzheimer's Association is constantly looking for help to educate and support those being faced with challenges. I might ask if they could spare an hour a month to help co-facilitate a support group so that they wouldn't feel they were alone.”
Jean is extremely active in education for Alzheimer’s and dementia. She is a member of Dementia-Friendly Dodge, Community Care Coalition, has facilitated Memory Café’s, is a Dementia-friendly business trainer, has spoken frequently at Community Care Conferences, and helps with a FTD support group.