Thanks to you, wonderful donors, the initial Family Support Group for the families of 10 residents was all to reach its goals of reducing isolation and increasing the contact between families, their resident, and the staff.
Meeting monthly, with the assistance of our matron and social worker, the participants were able to create and maintain strong bonds with one another which they sustained via WhatsApp between meeting times. The transformation of the family members was dramatic! Involvement with their resident on-site, and short home visits increased significantly. Each person felt he or she had a better understanding of the treatment plan for their loved one, and a greater connection to the staff.
For some participants, assistance with the cost of transportation was essential to help them to achieve their long-held dream more frequent contact and with people who truly understand their situation, and with their loved one.
We now have other families eager to have such a group, and hope, finances permitting, to start the next one(s) in January.
Family Support Groups Program at the Four Homes of Mercy (FHOM) is becoming more important and a needed resource for families who have a loved one with a multiple physical and intellectual disability. Such support groups are emerging as a significant part in psychosocial rehabilitation programs. Knowing that others have had the same experience and sharing with each other their concerns and dreams is a relief to families who have rarely spoken about disabilities to neighbors, friends, or often, even relatives. Learning from each other ways to work out some common issues is inspiring hope.
To meet the expectations of family members who attend the Family Support Groups Program and to assure an effective implementation of such program, the FHOM teams are focusing on the following aspects:
Creating opportunities to socialize and building friendships – families moved on in building close friendships and started to invite new members to join the group, where they have the chance to share their concerns, challenges, and experiences. They emphasized on the need to keep regular meetings and to strengthen communication between each other.
Providing a listening ear – families enjoyed the chance not only to be heard, but also to hear each other while expressing their feelings, needs, and concerns. Being in such a loving environment enabled families to feel that they are more socially supported and accepted by friends who are ready to listen and understand their worries and fears.
Providing information, advice, and emotional and social support – being able to learn and to be part in making decisions concerning their loved ones is of great importance for families and a valuable chance to get guidance on ways to address their concerns and implement their experiences. This caring environment is able to provide families with strong emotional support.
Providing a regular meeting place – the family support program provides families who come from different parts of Palestine with a regular place to meet and organize joint activities families; this is one of the factors that encouraged families to invite new members to join the group.
Organizing activities such as joint excursions and family days out – families actively joined a number of activities, where they were able to strengthen communication, build relations, and enjoy entertainment activities.
Rami celebrating Eid with his family
Rami’s mother, Aisha, was encouraged to invite Rami’s sister and 3 brothers to join her in celebrating Eid with Rami in the FHOM with other families; she said: I’m proud of my son, Rami! Being part of the family support group is making me stronger, and now I have a great desire to spread this feeling to my children.
Overcoming fear, shame, and stigma
In one of the meetings Nora’s father, Abed, raised the issue of fear, stigma, and shame that he and his family have to deal with. He expressed his need to talk about his experience and to hear from others about the coping mechanisms they learned to use in order to overcome these feelings.
Partnership with you is enabling us to address the
need for family supporting groups that would help to overcome the devastating impact on the social and mental health of many families with disabled persons as the result of isolation, the Four Homes of Mercy started to implement a family support program that
is planned to focus on the following aspects:
1. Creating opportunities to socialize and building friendships.
2. Providing a listening ear.
3. Providing information, advice, and emotional and social support.
4. Providing a regular meeting place.
5. Organizing activities such as joint excursions and family days out.
Subject:Update report for GlobalGiving project 51484
Your generosity has created excitement, eagerness, hope! The family support group will begin mid-March. In order to best meet the needs of the participants, our social worker is presently interviewing them to ask what they want from the group. ....The chance to share the challenge of having a severely impaired loved one with those who truly understand is something they have never had! The opportunity to learn from other families how they cope with the social stigma and isolation! Hearing from other families, as well as from our professionals on ways of communicating with loved ones who cannot speak, responding in the most helpful way to certain behaviors, of teaching skills such as self-feeding, how to more frequent and better home visits is a cherished opportunity!
Please know that your gift will greatly enhance the lives of our participants, and their loved ones.
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