A family caregiver support group can act as your lifeline that provides a place – in person, online, or on the phone – to share feelings confidentially, get help navigating the healthcare system, learn from others in a similar situation, and make new friends.
The truth is that caregiving can feel like an isolating experience that leaves you exhausted and overwhelmed. At such times, it can feel like you are dealing with so much on your own, which is why family caregiver support is so helpful since you interact with people in similar situations.
What a Family Caregiver Support Group Can Do for You
Even when you are part of a large family and have a strong social network around you, it can be hard to share your experiences or gain insight from friends and relatives. Sometimes, it’s nearly impossible to complain to close family and friends about taking care of a loved one for fear of how selfish it may look.
Therefore, joining a caregiver support group offers numerous advantages, from providing you with the freedom and anonymity to freely voice your concerns and feelings without fear of judgment to connecting you with a diverse and understanding group of people who share similar experiences.
Below are just a few other benefits of joining a family caregiver support group:
- Strong Social Support
Perhaps the biggest benefit of caregiver support is that it provides much-needed social support – especially when friends and family aren’t supportive. Support groups allow members to validate each other’s experiences. It is a relief to find out that what you are experiencing, whether positive or negative, is normal, and that you are not alone.
- Emotional Support
Caregiving can either be a rewarding experience or an incredibly stressful one, especially when there are physical and mental limitations or chronic illnesses involved. Talking your feelings and experiences through with peers, or simply listening to others’ experiences can have a calming effect. A healthy emotional outlet is essential in helping you to develop robust coping mechanisms.
- A Source of Useful Information and Additional Resources
These groups also offer an excellent opportunity to ask for advice and find out about useful resources. If the loved one under your care has a chronic or debilitating condition (such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease), a family caregiver support group is the best place to get and offer useful information on everything from behaviors and symptoms to look out for, to coping tips and strategies for safely providing care.
- Helps Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Connecting with other caregivers in similar situations helps fill the void that opens whenever you feel disconnected from your peers and life before you became a caregiver. Worrying about your stress levels or anxieties takes a back seat when you are taking care of a dependent loved one.
Find a Local Family Caregiver Support Group
Local community centers and hospitals stock handouts with lists of different local support groups. If you are looking for one that’s focused on a specific health condition, you can check online websites for information. Some good sources include:
The Bottom Line
Family caregiver support groups are essential whether or not you opt to hire a caregiver from a Palos Verdes senior in-home care agency.
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