Jim Holmes, Men’s Support Group Facilitator, Advocate, Sheboygan
“I volunteer because of my grandkids. I don’t want any of them go through it. We have to find a cure.”
Jim Holmes has been a Support Group Facilitator for the Men’s Caregiver Group in Sheboygan for over 4 years. “Caregivers have to take care of themselves and get away sometimes,” says Jim. “In the support group, the men can talk about everything. It helps men loosen up and not be afraid to talk about what’s going on.”
Jim was once a member of the group, as he was a caregiver for his wife Patti, who passed away in 2014 from Alzheimer’s disease. “We were fortunate that we could keep Patti at home, with help,” says Jim. “It took a while to talk about her Alzheimer’s, but now it’s something you have to tell other people about – life is different, it’s not over.” Jim and Patti moved back to Wisconsin, from Oklahoma in 2011 so they could be closer to family.
Part of the reason Jim leads the group now is in memory of Patti. “She was a good caregiver and that’s one of the reasons I do it,” says Jim. “The group isn’t regimented and it’s an out for some guys who have lost wives or need male comradery.”
Jim and his family are also Advocates for the Alzheimer’s Association. They have attended the Wisconsin Advocacy Day five times and also the National Advocacy Day in Washington D.C. twice. “Alzheimer’s is not a partisan issue – it crosses all party lines,” says Jim. “At Advocacy Day, you learn why the Alzheimer’s Association is advocating for certain things and get to talk with representations. It’s something we have to keep working on until we find a solution.”
Jim and Patti have four daughters and many grandchildren who are also advocates for the Alzheimer's Association. “I volunteer because of my grandkids,” says Jim. “I don’t want any of them go through it. We have to find a cure.” Jim and his daughters have participated in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Sheboygan County for many years and his family has also participated in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in New York and Denver. “Our walk team’s name is always ForePatti,” says Jim. “I’m a golfer and when you are a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s you sometimes need a break, so I would say “going golfing.” Jim says he wears purple every day – to support the cause and also because he’s a Viking’s fan!