Do you want to find a group of people who know what you’re going through with caregiving? Someone who has walked where you’re walking now? Then consider joining a Caregiver Support Group.
Caregiving causes isolation. It being a tough job is an understatement. No one understands what it’s like day by day except someone who’s been through it. However, what you’re feeling and experiencing can be validated by a caregiver support group. You can ask for advice, vent frustrations and cry if you think’s needed. No one will judge you because they are going through the same issues you are.
This article covers:
- Benefits of a Caregiver Support Group
- Share Your Caregiving Experiences
- Improve Your Coping Skills
- Reduce Your Stress
- Improve Your Caregiving Skills
- Forming your Group
- Chose a day of the week and time
- Find a place to have the meeting
- Choose a topic
- Make flyers
- Distribute the flyers
- Have the first meeting
- Collect email addresses
Benefits of a Caregiver Support Group
Share Your Caregiving Experiences
Good advice helps, and a caregiver support group provides just this. Being able to share your experiences and getting advice cans significantly improve your quality of life. Some of the advantages are that you’ll feel less isolated, not judged or lonely. With advice that works for you, you can gain control over your life again.
Improve Your Coping Skills
Talking to someone else about your situation will help improve your coping skills. The person you’re talking to may be in a similar situation. For example if you have been caregiving for a dementia or Alzheimer’s loved one try to talk with someone that has been doing the same. They could have an idea which will help you. It could even give you a better understanding of what to expect in your case. Also, the group will have information on options for treatment you hadn’t given thought.
Reduce Your Stress
Additionally, by talking about what’s going on with you, it can reduce your stress. It can also help with depression or anxiety caused by worry. Feeling alone is a horrible feeling. In a support group, you don’t have to feel that way anymore. Caregiver stress statistics show that:
- 1/3 caregivers feel depressed
- Caregivers have significantly higher mortality rates and,
- 47% have exhausted their life savings to support themselves
Therefore, it’s essential that caregivers have a support group to encourage them, provide sound advice, and to be a shoulder to lean on. In the support group, you’ll likely gain a lot of self-care tips from those that share similar experiences as you, which helps reduce stress significantly.
Improve Your Caregiving Skills
In addition to the benefits mentioned above, you’ll learn about improving your caregiving skills. You’ll better deal with your mental, physical and emotional health from caregiver strain.
You will be more efficient at the time to deal with any situation that requires using a first aid kit to help your senior. Your self-confidence will grow. It will give you the ability to take better care of the person you’re giving caregiving to. When your caregiving skills improve, you’ll know what to look for in an emergency. You’ll know what’s a problem you can handle and when to call the doctor for your loved one too. It will help your family member age in place longer.
The group will encourage you to take time for yourself. They will stress the importance of taking a break to find balance and avoid emotional burnout.. Now you may currently feel guilty about leaving your family member for any length of time. Don’t. Meeting new friends with common interests is a wonderful way to avoid isolation, fell renew and have some fun in order to be a better caregiver.
Forming your Group
What if you can’t find a support group near you? Then you can start your own support caregiver group! The Internet has made it so easy to connect with others who have similar interests as you. Check out Facebook to see if there are any caregiving groups in your city or create a group yourself. You could also check out Meetup.com to look for caregiver support groups or to conveniently organize your own. Below are some tips for running a caregiver support group:
Chose a day of the week and time
: Make sure the selected day and time works for you. If it doesn’t work for you, then you won’t be able to run the group.
Find a place to have the meeting
: Many of the local libraries have conference rooms which you can reserve. It should be free of charge, and the library may post your meeting on their flyers or website. If you can’t find an available library, try the following:
- Your local Area Agency on Aging
- Rent a conference room at a coworking space
Choose a topic
: The topic you choose for the first meeting should be a general one. It needs to be one that everyone can relate to. At the meetings, the attendees can share their experiences with how the topic affects their life. Sharing stories among each other will help everyone will bond. The themes for other meetings everyone can then have input in.
: Make up flyers about your first meeting. Explain what it’s about and invite the readers to join the group.
Distribute the flyers
: Post the flyers where you’re permitted to post them. Consider posting them at the following locations:
- Grocery store
- Your doctor’s office
- Senior community center
- Local pizza shop
- Social media – Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
- Family members
Have the first meeting
: If only a few people show up, that’s fine. During the meeting, ask everyone what topics they would like to talk about at future meetings. Have fun and laugh; caregivers need it. Ask the members about rotating leaders for future discussions. Create a sheet for signing up for refreshments.
Collect email addresses
Ask for the email address and phone numbers. You can send everyone a reminder for the next meeting. Also, if you notice someone having a difficult time, you can send them a check up email.
Joining a caregiver support group may be the best thing you’ve done today.