Candlelight Reflections Ceremony Held

(Left to right) NC Rep. Donna M. White, Pam Maynor, Craig Olive, Joyce Holloman, Neal Davis and Lisa Levine

Community & Senior Services (CSS) and the Family Caregivers Program of Johnston County held their annual Candlelight Reflections Ceremony recently at the Johnston County Courthouse.

This ceremony is a time to remember those we have lost and honor those currently living with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias.  It is also a time to honor the many caregivers who selflessly give of their time and energy to assist those with these awful diseases.

NC Representative Donna White was mistress of ceremonies and guest speaker.  During the program, Johnston County Register of Deeds Craig Olive was recognized for his efforts over the years in organizing and supporting this annual event.  Mr. Olive has personal experience in being a caregiver.  For many years, he was the primary caregiver for his mother who had Alzheimer’s disease.  Recently, his oldest sister has been diagnosed with dementia.

“I am very honored to receive this recognition.  Caring for our loved ones and others with this disease can be a full time job and very little time to care for ourselves.  Our goal in this annual event is to acknowledge the often thankless job of caregiving while also remembering our loved ones who have suffered from this terrible disease”, states Craig Olive.

Neal Davis, CSS Executive Director noted, “Our annual Candlelight Reflections event is an opportunity for caregivers to gather and honor loved ones, to hear stories of compassion as well as enjoy uplifting music. For the past four years, Craig has graciously arranged to host the event in the courthouse atrium. He is a dedicated supporter of our Caregiver program and we sincerely appreciate his tireless efforts.”

Pam Maynor, Caregiver Specialist with Community & Senior Services, provides resources for caregivers and strives to assist those who find themselves in this role.  Community & Senior Services provides support groups twice each month.  One group meets in Smithfield on the 3rd Thursday of each month, while another group meets in Clayton on the 4th Thursday.  They also organize an annual caregivers retreat and two six-week caregiver workshops each year.  Contact their office at 919-934-6066 for more information on times and locations for these support groups, retreats and workshops.

According to 2015 statistics from the Alzheimer’s Association, roughly 15.7 million adult family caregivers care for someone who has Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia. The Candlelight Reflections is one way to bring to light the task given to caregivers on a daily basis and, hopefully, allow these caregivers to find comfort and camaraderie in meeting others in our community who are serving in similar roles.

Lisa Levine, Program Director at Dementia Alliance of North Carolina (formerly Alzheimer’s NC) was also on hand for the Candlelight Reflections.