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Transitions reaches out to grieving seniors

When a person loses his or her keys, the solution is simple attach a beeping device that will help locate them. When a person loses a loved one, the answer is not as easy.

But Christine Cary, director of the Town of Colonie Senior Resources Department, was determined to design a community-based program to provide comfort for those who have endured difficulty in dealing with the death of someone close.

Transitions, a monthly support group for seniors and caregivers that meets at the William K. Sanford Library, was born through one simple solution: Take a person who has suffered a loss, add a room full of peers who have also suffered from a similar grief, and you are left with a room filled with compassion and understanding.

Cary, who calls the program her baby," said she had noticed an unmet need for a cost-free monthly support group for people who were finding it hard to cope with the loss of pivotal figures in their lives, most of whom are seniors and caregivers throughout Colonie. After a loss, she explained, a caregiver's functions end, and many do not know how to deal with the sudden change and move on.

"When people are caregiving, they become isolated and they lose the support and the friendships that they've had throughout their lives," she said. "Being able to deal with what you're going through and what you're coping with is hard."

As the group approaches its two-year anniversary, Cary said, Transitions has seen a very successful turnout.

"In the winter months, when there are a lot of illnesses, we usually have around six people in the group, sometimes nine. Typically I'd say we have between five and 10 people at each meeting. We do it as a town service; it's free and it's supported by our town supervisor, and it's just another effort to reach out," she said.

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