Monday, July 22, 2013

Sometimes You Just Need to Stop and Pie

Dear Friends,
Last week I had the opportunity to meet with a few members of one of our support groups. After spending a few days at AAIC listening to statistical analysis of support groups, this was a welcome reintroduction back into the real thing. We had a few minutes to wait while the final person in our meeting arrived. In those few minutes of small talk I observed what many of the members of our support group already know, the moment you walk into any of our support groups, you are immediately enveloped into a loving family whose mission is to support you in your caregiving journey. The members of the support group gently checked in on each other, listening intently and nodding in affirmation - with the knowing look, silently saying, "I've been there too." Sometimes they offered a suggestion based on their experience, but for the most part, they provided just want the other was looking for, support.

Science says support groups are one of the greatest weapons in the fight against caregiver stress and caregiver burnout. Each month when we analyze our website statistics, we find that our support group listing page is the 2nd most visited page on our website. However, these website visits don't always translate into support group attendance. Maybe it is our semantics, maybe we should change the term support group to ally group or friend group? An anomaly I have studied since joining the Association many years ago. It is easy to understand the hesitation, a room full of strangers, an emotional disease affecting the person you love the most, making arrangements for your loved one while you attend the support group.

If our support group members could tell you one thing while you are looking at our support group listing online, they would say, please, just come once. You don't have to talk, you can just sit and listen, but just come. Together our support group members surround each other and lift each other up throughout their caregiving journey. That special bond that I saw in our short meeting, the passion our members had for their support group and the members made my heart swell. Listening to the members in our meeting talk about recruiting new people, and people who they have asked to come to the meeting who they know could greatly benefit from the support group's help is greater proof of the enormous benefit than any scientist could provide. You can find a support group near you by visiting If you don't see a support group near you, and would be interested in starting one, please contact us at

Please, just come once.

There is a lot happening this week!

  • Monday I spoke to the Select Committee on PEIA, Seniors and Long Term care, providing updates on the Make a Plan for Alzheimer's, our adult day health resolution and the needs of West Virginia caregivers. The committee asked very good questions and are ready to tackle the issue of adult day health in West Virginia. Our Legislature's support of the cause of Alzheimer's is critical. If you would like to help support us in the issue, please contact me at 
  • Charleston Walk to End Alzheimer's Kick-Off THIS Thursday! Our planning committee has been hard at work making preparations for our kick-off! We can't wait to see all of our participants and sponsors, our kick-off is kind of like the pre-family reunion before the Walk. The kick-off is from 5 - 7 pm at our office. Please join us for food, fun, friends and Walk to End Alzheimer's! You can RSVP at Share this event with your friends! 
  • Welcome new staff member! Carolyn Canini will start with us as the Program & Quality Coordinator. Her focus will be on overseeing our quality initiatives, support groups and outreach. She is so new, we don't have her email address set up yet! 
  • We are making final preparations for Caregiver University in Martinsburg! It will be held on Wednesday, July 31. For more information visit click here!
  • We are also hosting a series of listening session regarding a grant project focused on improving the identification of cognitive impairment in hospital settings to ensure individuals receive best care. If you've had an experience, good or bad, with your loved one with Alzheimer's disease in a hospital or acute care setting please join us at one of our listening sessions. The dates are: Beckley 7/29; Martinsburg 7/30; Charleston 8/20. To RSVP or for more information, email or call 800.272.3900. 
It is Sunday. It is storming. I am working. Need a distraction...

I never made pie, until my mom and dad bought me a food processor for Christmas this past year. Growing up my favorite part of the pie process is the crust, so I was never interested in the pre-made crust. We would stand under my mom patiently waiting for the extra pie dough to get cut off from around the pan. What is it about flour and butter together that makes us go wild!

I still don't make pie very often. I can never, ever, ever get the crust right. According to my latest issue of Garden & Gun, the key to crust success is practice. Well, who has time for that! Our friend Sarah has an amazing bakery, Sarah's Bakery, so when I need a delicious desert I just swing by her place, because pies happen to be her specialty!

But, it is Sunday. I am working. Need a distraction. Have blueberries.

For the crust, this pie calls for a double crust - so cut the ingredients in half if you don't want a top to your pie.

First, to prepare. Put two sticks of butter into the freezer, the colder you get the butter the better!
Then, fill a measuring cup with 1/3 cup of water and add a few ice cubes, you want the water cold too.

In your food processor or a bowl add: 2 1/2 cups of flour, 1 tsp of sugar, 1 tsp of salt. Whirl around until mixed together.

Grab the butter from the freezer, slice into tbs. slices and add into the processor. Pulse the processor until you get a fine meal, it is hard to describe the consistency, but you want all of the butter to magically disappear.

Next, slowly add the water. The amount of water will vary based on a lot of factors, but you want to add small amounts of water, followed by pulsing until the mixture turns from clumps into a giant ball of delicious pie dough!

Divide into two balls, wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Did I mention that this is not an instant gratification recipe?

Onto the blueberries! Rinse and remove any stems or bad blueberries.

Add 3/4 cup of sugar, 3 tbs. of flour & 1 tsp. of salt. Stir this delightful mixture together. Don't resist the urge to pick off a few sugar coated blueberries, go for it! Sooo yummy!

Blarg! This is my least favorite part. Good thing I went to a TRX class this week. I am rolling out my stress!

The best way to transfer to the pie plate is roll the dough around the rolling pin, then roll it out over pie plate.

Oh, extra crust dough how I love you! 

Now is time for the dump! Add 2 tbs of butter around the top of the mixture and squeeze some lemon juice over the top.

Ok, the lattice was overkill, but I am really trying to avoid doing my work. Wrap foil around the edges so they don't burn and put into a 400 degree oven. Bake for 40 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 5-10 minutes.

Did I mention this isn't an instant satisfaction recipe? Resist your urge (more likely the urge of those around you - back off W!) to dive right in! You want to let it cool on the counter for an hour, then in the fridge for another few. It is actually best the next day. Ice cream is a required side dish.

Ok, I've wasted enough time. Back to the grind!

Until next week!

Laurel K.

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