As a family caregiver, many of your days are spent completing the everyday tasks of living such as preparing meals, providing transportation, and helping your parent prepare for the day. Providing social support and spending quality time with your loved one is also a top priority and finds you sharing a meal, exploring a green space, or enjoying one of your favorite movies together. While this time can be incredibly rewarding, it can also be somewhat all-consuming. Family caregivers, and those who they care for, could often use a little support, people to talk to that have been down the same road.
“Be strong, be fearless, be beautiful. And believe that anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you.”—Misty Copeland.
Fortunately, there are several options when it comes to getting the support you need. Support groups have sprouted up as demand has increased. Many of these support groups are run by professionals who can share strategies for coping with the varying challenges that arise for many caregivers. And, of course, no one knows what you’re going through quite like another person that has “walked a mile in your shoes.” A caregiving support network brings you in contact with people that can not only empathize, but also share insights learned. It is not uncommon to develop close relationships within this circle of fellow caregivers.
There are varying types of support groups for caregivers. Some are centered on diseases such as support groups for those who are caring for loved ones with dementia. Others are more generalized. There are thousands of these support groups across the nation. They can be found in hospitals, churches, and senior centers. And for those that are not group oriented, support can be found online. Both online and in-person support groups can be found at the Family Caregiver Alliance site: www.caregiver.org, AARP has online forums, and you can also contact your local Area Agency on Aging.
Your parent may be going through one of the most challenging times of their life. From chronic diseases to decreasing mobility to a diminishing social network and independence, change can seem to be a daily occurrence. There are several different types of support groups that can offer both camaraderie and suggestions to their various challenges. These may be centered on diseases such as arthritis, dementia, cancer, or low vision, or they may be based upon locality and age. Check with your parent’s local senior community center that can often share local resources. Online support is also available. MDJunction offers online support groups for those suffering from arthritis, COPD, dementia, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, urinary incontinence, and more.
Take the time to reach out for both you and your loved one. Support may be just a phone call away.