– Question –
I’ve been taking care of my Mom for a few years now and it’s getting really hard. I’m exhausted, stressed out, and am starting to have some health problems. None of my friends understand so I don’t have anyone to talk to about what I’m going through.
I heard that a caregiver support group would help, so I found one close to my house and went. But I didn’t like the group!
Everyone there was caring for someone in their family, but I didn’t really click with them. I don’t want to going back there, but I still need to talk to people who understand what I’m going through. What should I do?
– Answer –
Don’t give up hope! Every support group has its own personality and the first one you try might not be a great match for you. But there are many options out there and it’s worth a little effort to find one that suits you.
Caregiver support groups are one of the best places to go when caregiving feels overwhelming. They help reduce stress because you get a chance to vent to people who truly understand, get useful advice, and find out about good local resources.
We’ve got 4 tips to help you find a source of support that you’ll like.
1. Give that group one more try
Consider going back one more time. Maybe that specific combination of people didn’t work for you, but attendees come and go so next time could feel totally different.
2. Try a different group
Ask your local hospital, senior center, or Area Agency on Aging (Tip: enter zip code only to search) for a list of all the support groups in your county.
This gives you more groups you could try and increases the chance that you’ll find a better fit for your personality. Be open to groups even if the description doesn’t exactly match your older adult’s condition.
Examples of different groups to consider:
- Specific medical conditions – dementia, stroke, heart disease, breathing problems, etc.
- Adult children caring for parents
- Stress management
3. Find someone to be your counselor
Instead of going to a group, you might prefer speaking with someone one-on-one. Of course, it’s important that they can focus on listening, not judging your actions, and providing the type of support you need.
A few suggestions:
- A leader or counselor from your church, temple, or place of worship
- A therapist, social worker, or similar type of counselor
- A trusted friend or close family member
4. Try an online support group
There are excellent sources of support available online. Even if you don’t meet people face-to-face, many say these groups soon start feeling like family. As an example, Memory People on Facebook is a great community of people who are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Of course, take the usual precautions when speaking with people you don’t know. Stay safe online by not sharing any personal information like your address, social security number, or financial information.
By DailyCaring Editorial Staff
Image: American Psychiatric Association