ARK of SC provides support for Alzheimer caregivers

What does the ARK of SC do?

If you or someone you know is the caregiver of a loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease or a related dementia, take comfort in knowing that one of the most specialized support programs in the Lowcountry is ready to help. The ARK of SC provides hope and relief to families through respite care, support groups, caregiver consultation and educational workshops.

When Peg Lahmeyer founded The ARK in 1996 she had two participants on the first day. And now, 22 years later, the ARK has expanded to serve five counties: Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester and Orangeburg.

Powerful Tools for Caregivers classes (PTC) is an evidence based educational program offered free of charge at The ARK and other locations throughout their service area. Through the training, family members learn how to take care of themselves while also caring for loved ones who have a chronic illness.

The ARK offers respite care that provides fellowship along with activities meant to enhance a loved one’s independence and self esteem. There are also support groups for caregivers; three in Dorchester county and one in Berkeley county. In 2012 The NOAH Project (Neighborhood Outreach Alzheimer’s Help) was developed to help caregiving families in underserved communities. Support is provided to these communities to replicate similar programs to assist their neighbors.

Recently The ARK has established two new programs, one being a Law Enforcement/First Responder certified training. This training is designed to enhance the knowledge of those coming to aid a person with Alzheimer’s Disease or a related dementia. Coming this fall of 2018, an Early Memory Loss (EML) program will be offered to support people who are concerned about their own brain health and concern about early memory loss.

“When I stop and look back I wonder how in the world did we develop all these programs?” Lahmeyer said. “And my answer is having a dynamic staff, board of directors, and volunteers who are willing to think of unique ways of serving the community.”

The ARK evolved so much that it outgrew its space at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church. The program has since moved into the former home of Mayor Berlin G. Myers at the corner of Hickory and West 5th North streets. The ARK has a little less than three years to raise the half million dollars needed to purchase the home from a LLC group of supporters. A major gifts initiative is underway to ensure their goal is met. As the baby boomer generation ages there will be an even greater demand for caregiver support programs like The ARK.