TEMPLE, Texas — Savannah Perez-Villareal served as a caregiver in Troy for her grandmother for 12 years until she passed in late 2020.
"Never in a million years did I think everything I would go through would happen," she told 25 News. "Never did I imagine the mood swings, the heartache, the hardships that would come with it."
She said she remembers often feeling lost, alone, and unsure whom to turn to for advice.
"If you don't know anybody with Alzheimer's and Dementia, and you don't know exactly what that entails as a caregiver, people don't know what you're talking about," Perez-Villareal said. "They think you're exaggerating or just being spoiled, and that's not the case."
Now she is starting a support group for caregivers in Central Texas.
"I don't want other families to go through what I went through," Perez-Villareal said. "If I can help just one person, I've done my job. I don't want their journey to be walked alone. We definitely want to walk right by it with you."
Starting on Friday, April 22 the group will meet weekly at the Young Daughter's Funeral Home and Bereavement Center in Temple.
Caregivers will get a chance to vent, ask for advice, and speak with others who understand while volunteers stay with loved ones in the chapel.
"We're going to be playing music from their era; the 30s, 40s, 50s," Perez-Villareal said. "We're also going to have activities for them like jacks, notches, and crosses, games they used to play as kids."
The goal is to allow caregivers a chance to take a break from their full-time roles.
"Even with them being in another room for an hour or two and them not looking out for them, that feels like it's already a relief because they're not having to worry."
The group will meet every Friday at 6 p.m.