Caregiver support groups can be a vital resource for people who have a loved one to care for. Caregivers are often so focused on taking care of their ill, injured, or aging loved ones that they forget to take care of their own mental and emotional health. One of the most important things a caregiver can do is ensure he or she has a good support system in place.
What Are the Benefits of a Caregiver Support Group?
One way to make sure that you don’t neglect your own well-being when you’re caring for your loved one is to join a support group. There are support groups available for caregivers in almost every community, and a number of other resources to explore even where groups aren’t available. Caregiver support groups allow you to talk about your struggles with others who understand, and by default they help caregivers better cope with the stresses of their situation.
Caregivers often face numerous issues. Depression is common, as is struggling to balance daily caregiving duties while maintaining a normal life. Because they promote connection with others in similar situations, support groups help caregivers feel less alone. And, because other members of the group are in a similar situation to yours, they can be a great place to swap tips and ideas for helpful community resources.
Where to Find Caregiver Support Groups
Finding caregiver support groups in your area should be straightforward. Many local hospitals offer them, as do some churches or temples. If you aren’t sure where to look, you can ask a therapist, hospital social worker, or even your doctor. Calling your local Agency on Aging or a national caregiver organization will usually garner a list of recommendations too. Other places to look include local senior centers and senior services organizations. If you can’t find a local group that meets your needs, illness-specific support groups are a good choice. Some, like the Alzheimer’s Association, facilitate online support groups. This may be an option if you live in a small town or have difficulty getting to face-to-face meetings.
When you take care of yourself — physically, mentally, and emotionally — it’s easier to take care of your loved one. By taking the time to get support, you will make it less stressful for everyone involved.