Author’s Visit Inspires Formation of Down East Caregiver Support Group


“A recent book-signing visit from author Kathryn Smaw Amerson has inspired caregivers to form a Down East Support Group,” stated Rose Tankard,   Administrator of Snug Harbor on Nelson Bay.    “Kate’s voice, in person and in her book, is compelling.” 

Kathryn Smaw Amerson opens The Caregivers, her powerful work of creative non-fiction, by explaining that as a professor of History, she studies “the injustices of man.”  Her protagonist comes to understand “…the truth about aging:  Society cares about citizens only as long as they are productive.  …when it comes to a population which appears to have outlived its usefulness, we turn our heads…” 

The book tells the story of Elizabeth Duke who has been diagnosed with dementia. Yesterday, she was a brilliant teacher; everyone sought her wisdom and her company. Today is the beginning of the end. Anne Rutledge is the great-niece of “Aunt Bette “.  She and her young family share the Southern homeplace with Aunt Bette. Now Anne must become the caregiver for her great-aunt while attempting to continue a career and rear a family. 

Residents, families, staff, and visitors to Snug Harbor listened intently to Amerson’s reading, breaking into laughter at some points, only to respond with poignant silence at others.   The lively discussion that followed revealed that many audience members identified with the role of caregiver.   They shared stories of frustration and heartache, as well as moments of joy.

“Several in the audience suggested that a chance to get together with others who are functioning as caregivers for family members at home or in residential facilities would be welcome.  Thus was born The Official Down East Caregivers Support Group,” explained Mrs. Tankard.   “We hope anyone looking for this kind of opportunity will stop in on Thursday. ”

Hosted by Snug Harbor on Nelson Bay,  The Down East Caregivers Support Group will meet at 3:00 pm on  the first and  third Thirsday of each  month.  A brief program is planned, followed by discussion and refreshments.  Discussion at meetings on February 3rd and 14th  include focus on aspects of giving care and caring for yourself, sharing resources, and a survey of resources . 

SnugHarbor on Nelson Bay is a retirement community and rehabilitation resort offering five levels of care.  For directions, tour arrangements, or further information, please call 252-225-4411.




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