If you provide care for an elderly or ill loved one, you know it is a daunting and sometimes lonely task. This is especially true for caregivers who have no family support. When you add in caring for your family, holding down a job and also taking care of your aging parents, you can easily see how stressful life could become. With the holidays fast approaching, the stress and chaos can become even more pronounced.
Individuals who aren’t involved in a caregiver role may offer to help out, but they can’t truly understand the depths of what you’re involved in. Finding a support group and interacting with other caregivers gives you an opportunity to share frustrations and joys. A caregiver support group can also help you uncover ways to deal with stress, guilt and may even offer insight on various resources to make your caregiving role easier.
The benefits of a support group
Finding and joining a support group benefits you because you need to know you’re not “alone.” You need to understand that the feelings and stress you’re under is real. Those in your support group may have a “been there, done that” attitude and can help you navigate thru the various challenges you may face.
Many caregivers find they are thrust into the role without much preparation; that makes it even more daunting. When you run into financial issues, medical care questions and legal issues you can run it by the members in your group.
You may even find that your support group might offer a form of group exercise – crucial to relieving stress and helping relax you.
How can you find the right group?
To begin your search for a group, ask at your church or religious organization, ask your doctor or your parents’ doctor, do an online search or ask at a nursing home for recommendations. Look for a group that is led by someone who has experience in the caregiver role.
You may also want to find a group that has been in existence for a while and has a good reputation. As with any type of group, you might just need to try out a couple until you find one that is a good fit.
A caregiver support group should be a safe space in which you can connect with others, vent your frustrations and ask for advice.