Life is unpredictable. Therefore, it is rare to enter into a relationship and know ahead of time you will become that person’s caregiver. Becoming a caregiver is just something that happens.
Given the challenges of being a caregiver, these individuals often feel the need to meet with others who understand their predicament. A caregiver support group is a safe place to vent, encourage and receive consolation. See below for some resources for finding the right group.
Many of the health-based nonprofits offer support groups for both caregivers and the individuals they care for. Facilitators undergo specialized training and typically have a connection to a particular condition such as cancer or Alzheimer’s. Check the websites of nonprofits such as the Alzheimer’s Association, American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association or American Heart Association to find out information on support groups relevant to your situation.
Many churches host support groups. Larger churches may have more resources, as there is a greater likelihood that a particular disease has affected members of its congregation. To find one of these support groups, contact the church, check its website for schedules or seek the counsel of a doctor.
Doctors and Hospitals
Speaking of doctors, most find that support groups aid in the continuation of long-term care and offer a host of references. Because of time constraints placed on doctors by insurance companies, laws and hospital policies, they often cannot give a patients and caregivers the attention they need. Support groups help fill in the blanks and aid in the emotional fallout from coping with a long-term illness.
Many hospitals work with groups that host caregiver support meetings at their facilities. Sometimes these groups are lead by a physician, nurse or social worker and will consist of many of the same patients you see regularly at treatment. Hospitals like to keep their patients engaged, because fostering those relationships engenders trust in the doctors and hospital network.
Senior Care Facilities
If you are taking care of your loved one at home, the thought of going to a senior care facility for a support group may be upsetting. However, these facilities often hold support meetings for the family members of residents, and the groups are typically open to the public. If you find they are soliciting business through their support efforts, you should leave, as it’s considered unethical behavior. In most cases, you’ll find the room is full of people with the same struggles you face on a daily basis.